The Gratitude Challenge

I had the fortuitous opportunity to stumble across a book last year called The Zen Teacher. The book is written by California high school English teacher Dan Tricarico, and focuses on practices for bringing mindfulness, meditation and Zen to your role as an educator. After checking out Dan’s blog and website, I decided to order a copy of the book, and I reached out to Dan via Twitter to see if he’d be interested in spreading the Zen Teacher philosophy and message to colleagues in my district.

Dan agreed to participate and joined our district-wide Edcamp in February via Google Hangout. Dan shared personal stories and experiences to focus our teachers on mindfulness and self-care, encouraging them to be present in each moment.

I have been fortunate to become connected with Dan through the continued use of Twitter and Voxer, and have tried to incorporate some of what I have learned from Dan into my daily role as an educator.

In the book, Dan challenges the reader at the end of each chapter, with a specific Zen Teacher Assignment. After recently re-reading the chapter titled Gratitude, I decided to take on the challenge, albeit a bit modified version of the challenge.

We often don’t hear many messages of gratitude in our world. While it can be difficult to take time out of our busy schedules to say thank you to people, or to voice our gratitude or appreciation, it still remains crucial to do so.

So, as I reflect upon my year, I’d like to accept the Zen Teacher Assignment and express my gratitude. Here is my list of what I’m grateful for:

  1. I am grateful for the opportunity to connect and share with like-minded educators who constantly challenge my thinking and extend my learning.
  2. I appreciate the educational support staff who make contributions to our students every day, offering positive words and guidance in often unsung and unheralded positions.
  3. I am grateful for the constant support of my family in all that I do.
  4. I am thankful for the chance to work with kids every day. Magical smiles, moments of clarity and understanding, learning opportunities, teachable moments. All of the hard work and effort is worth it when a difference is made for just one child.
  5. I am grateful to be able to learn alongside my own children. They also challenge my thinking each day, and I appreciate seeing them become excited to learn about something new.
  6. I am thankful for the relationships I have been able to build in my role as an educator. Those who I work with now, and former colleagues… Lifelong friends and individuals who have only passed through my life for a short time.

What are you grateful for?

What are you thankful for or appreciative of this year?

Take the Gratitude Challenge.

List some of the things you are grateful for, appreciative of, or thankful for. Be sure to share using the hashtags #gratitude, #zenteacher and #4OCF.

Special thanks to Dan Tricarico for his inspiration!

Rich (@RACzyz)

2 thoughts on “The Gratitude Challenge

  1. I love this!! I am grateful for the opportunity to grow as a teacher this year. I moved to another state and had to change subjects from Earth Science to Physical Science. It was a completely different type of science (very analytical), but I am grateful that I have a wonderful support system. I have been able to learn from friends/teachers from my previous school as well as friends/teachers from my new school. Every day I am learning something new about myself as a teacher or expanding my knowledge in my subject area. #grattitude #zenteacher #4ocf

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