The new semester has started for many teachers and students, and more will join in after Labor Day. Although I am not teaching this semester, I’ve decided that now is a good time to write an updated version of my 2010 post about self-management for the new semester and school year. Even if you are not a teacher or student, it’s possible that teaching is part of your work, and all of us are engaged in continuous learning.
1. Get Attuned to Your Well-Being. The influential psychologist/author Martin E.P. Seligman has extended his work on happiness into this area, under the acronym PERMA: positive emotion (including happiness), engagement, relationships, meaning and achievement.
2. Look For Flow. Mihaly Csiskszentmihalyi introduced the world to the concept of flow. He is another psychologist/author who, like Seligman, is connected to the field of positive psychology. If you are in this state, inside or outside of class, you are completely engaged in a task and lose sense of time.
3. Maintain Your Health. Because teaching and learning can be draining and stressful, it’s important to engage in exercise, and such mind-body techniques as yoga or the Alexander Technique.
4. Connect to the World Beyond the Classroom. You can approach your own subjects with a fresher mind by occasional reading outside your discipline. Also, try to set a goal of attending one lecture or presentation by a visiting speaker on campus (or another campus in your area) in subjects different from your own.
5. Understand Your Present Reality. You’ll have more mental space to teach and study if you understand what constitutes your “total life.”
I hope you find this streamlined set of tips to be useful on your teaching and learning journeys, this semester and beyond.
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