Happy Teachers :: Reader Comments

The Winter 2009 issue of YES! investigates how to be happy … sustainably. We asked you about happiness in the classroom and beyond. Here is what your colleagues say:

What gives you the greatest joy as a teacher?

What sustains your happiness in and outside of the classroom?

Mural in a primary school in Chiapas, photo by Aaron Cain

For the past 8 years, seeing how the kids I teach have become role models for my daughter has been inspirational.
Traveling in the summer, and the physical and mental outlets from outdoor sports sustains me.
Enrique Chee, high school physics teacher, 18 years in the classroom


The greatest joy for me is watching reluctant and distant learners find their voice, passion, and curiosity. It thrills me when the "light bulb" goes on and I know I have helped electrify the situation.
At the end of the day, it's all about the positive relationships and the powerful learning. That is happiness for me.
Barry Hoonan, 5/6th grade teacher, 27 years in the classroom


Seeing those aha! moments for my students makes me happiest as a teacher.
Working with great colleagues, and coming home to a family who loves you no matter what, keeps me going.
Liz Finin, middle school english teacher and former ELL educator, 20 years in the classroom


I love seeing kids make connections and apply what they are learning to their world.
I learned early on in my teaching career that I was happiest if I was taking care of myself. I try to get enough sleep, make sure to exercise, and have goals to keep me motivated.
Elizabeth Vroom, middle school science teacher, 9 years in the classroom


The other day I received a thank you card from a 75-year-old high school teacher with whom I have been working this fall. Her sparkling enthusiasm gives me hope every day.
Hope, dreams, and good will that can transpire to all people and learners are what keep me happy.
Kevin Teutsch, technology educator and former middle school social studies and english teacher, 31 years in the classroom


My greatest professional joy occurs when my students tell me they look forward to my class all day long.
The intellectual challenge my job provides me keeps my back to the whiteboard facing each class with a sense of joy, excitement, and satisfaction.
Amy Fineburg, high school psychology teacher, 14 years in the classroom


Knowing that I’ve made a significant difference in their lives, not just in their learning is my greatest joy.
Knowing that I still have a place in their hearts, as they do in mine (from their graduation announcements, wedding invitations, and baby announcements, to those of their children) keeps me happy.
Anna Unkovich, middle, high school, and university educator, 35 years in the classroom


I enjoy the ongoing contact … the pictures … heck, some of them even look older than I do!
For me, athletics has been a big part of it … coaching, officiating, attending the meets. I even hold a record for attending every NCAA Indoor Championship Meet (track and field), since they started in Detroit in 1965.
Kermit, former middle school and high school teacher, 97 years old


The greatest joy for me as a teacher is the moments when I know I have made a difference in someone’s life. Outside of the classroom, I sustain my happiness by thinking of ways to do it again.
Brian Moon, music education, teacher candidate


The relationships that are made after spending so much time together give me the greatest joy. Watching a child learn and discover new things, a smile, a hug, being presented with a careful drawing that says “School is cool” are all things that make me believe that I have the best job in the world.
Being fed with love, warmth, understanding, and fun by all of the relationships in my life is the foundation of what keeps me going.
Peggy Koivu, first grade teacher, 31 years in the classroom

No Paywall. No Ads. Just Readers Like You.
You can help fund powerful stories to light the way forward.
Donate Now.