Two great ways to be a Zen Teacher is to appreciate what you have and to care about and serve others.  These two approaches–being thankful and taking care of others–create a sense of purpose and fulfillment that, in turn, helps you be centered, peaceful, and content.

Learning to care about and minister to the suffering of others can be a powerful expression of your personal Zen.  Ironically, when we see someone in need and come to his or her aid, we often feel better ourselves, knowing that we have helped. This could be the student who has tried the math problem twenty times and still can’t get it, the administrator who is asking for a chaperone for the dance, or the novice teacher struggling with the unruly class who desperately needs your veteran wisdom on classroom management.  The main questions to ask, then, are “Who is in need?  Who can I help today?”

Gratitude.  A readiness to show appreciation and to express a humble thankfulness is a powerful way to keep ourselves centered and remind us of our blessings.  This, in turn, increases our sense of peace and contentedness.  Maybe you’re grateful to the parent who donated supplies, the book clerk who got you the books you needed in time for the next big unit, the duplicating clerk who ignored the two-day turn around rule and had your worksheets ready that afternoon, or the colleague who spent her prep period listening to your sob story about period 7 (it’s always the last class, isn’t it?).  The main question to ask yourself is, “Who can I thank?”

Making compassion and gratitude a way of life increases your sense of tranquility and happiness not only in teaching, but the rest of your life as well.  TZT