[dropcap]When[/dropcap] lists of standards for school achievement are made, nobody seems concerned that happiness is not on the list. It would be easy to make the case for it, though. Happy children are better learners, healthier people, and better earners when they leave school (Lyubomirsky, King, and Diener 2005; Peterson, Park, and Seligman 2005). But the omission points to a much larger problem. Children live at least twelve years of their lives in school, and their experiences influence every aspect of their development and well-being—the intellectual, the emotional, the psychological, and the social (Eccles and Roeser 2011). While we are busy teaching children to read and write, the students are also trying to make sense of being human. Pressures to focus on the “basics” and “academic rigor” often distract us, and we forget that healthy development and well-being require children to experience a sense of autonomy, relatedness, and competence (Ryan and Deci 2000).
—Peter Johnston and Gay Ivey
The Teacher You Want To Be: Essays About Children, Learning, and Teaching, edited by Matt Glover and Ellin Oliver Keene, will release October 22nd.