12 Life Tips for Teachers
by Waseem Peracha
From working in this field for so long I can honestly say that it is essential for every educator and Islamic worker to really step back reflect on everything and how Islamic work and activism may be sucking the spirituality out of them. I have been reflecting on life and would like to share some thoughts and I hope that you take it as advice on your journey as educators.
In this article, we will list 12 Life Tips for Teachers that personally helped me stay on the right path.
1) Value your time
This world is a place of action for the believer and so one must treat life like a shopping spree to gather any good in the limited time Allah swt has given us.
2) The Importance of Family
Spend quality time with your kids and family, you’ll always regret not spending more time with them. Involve them in your lessons and share with them anything new that you have learned. Our jobs are to teach children but we often forget to teach our own children. So many times the teacher’s kids are the worst because the parents were too busy teaching the community’s kids and forgot their own.
3) Make a bucket list
Set goals and challenge yourself. Make SMART goals and make sincere dua that Allah (SWT) let’s you accomplish them. Reward yourself when you get them done and discipline yourself when you don’t. During winter and summer breaks have some fun, get away from it all and don’t get swamped with checking papers or lesson planning. Put it all to the side for once.
4) Learn something new everyday
Get self-help books from the library or Goodwill and read to make yourself better. Also use your commute or time after Fajr to learn something about your deen. Don’t listen to random lectures but series on tafseer or seerah, etc.. Ask a senior teacher or staff member for books they can suggest, it’ll save you lots of time..
5) Help Your Community
Muhammad Ali (rah) said “Service to others is the rent you pay for your time on this earth” Serve humanity and teach your kids to give back and be selfless as well. Make it part of your school’s ethos to serve the community in various ways.
6) Prioritize your Life Goals
Don’t let life get in the way of life goals because the regret for not being able to accomplish those will be much greater. Take a sabbatical and focus on an important life goal. Use the summers to focus on your self growth.
7) Save Money
Try to save 5% of your income every month and invest in real estate or have an IRA/401k account to save on taxes. Very difficult to do with a teacher’s income but force yourself to do this and act as if it’s a bill you have to pay.
8) Share with the World
Have a percentage of your wealth to give away in charity. Not just zakah try to give 2.5-5% of your gross income. Diversify your investments by putting money into masajid, needy families, scholarships, Islamic schools, Women’s shelters, water wells, orphans, da’wah, homes for the needy or whatever other worthy project you can think of. If you have a special da’wah project or idea, invest in your own project and put your own effort in seeing it become successful. Live with less and you’ll be happy.
9) Travel and See the World
show your kids how people are living. Go for Hajj and umrah while you are young rather than waiting till you are older. Every school should do an annual umrah trip with school families. If you need help with this, contact me firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve taken groups and we have Fun during our umrah trip. Can’t go for umrah? Go and enjoy the outdoors, hike, camping and other outdoor activities but no screens when you do this.
Walk everyday, do push-ups, weight lift if you can. Try to stay in shape and workout with the intention to be able to serve Allah swt better and with more strength. It helps reduce all the stress we face as teachers. Fast Mondays and Thursday, especially during the winter months with the shorter days. Try intermittent fasting, for 12 hours a day only drink water (no calories). You can do this from 7 PM – 7 AM without much effort. Try to build more stamina and make it 16 hours, 6 PM – 10 AM. There is a popular video on Amazon on Fasting and it’s health benefits. Try Prophetic healing. Take black seed, honey, ajwa dates, talbeena (barley), get cupping done at least every 3-6 months. Eat meat once a week and go with organic and healthier portions.
11) Surround Yourself with Good People
Find a Murabbi. Find a true rabanni (someone connected our Rabb) and who connects others as well. Ask them for spiritual advice. Treat them like a life coach who helps you further your connection with Allah swt. We have hidden gems at our schools sometimes and we should seek them out and spend time with them during work and outside of work. Have a monthly potluck where all the teachers can get together and do a family halaqa. Quit the chai/coffee chat breaks. avoid negative people and hang around and help those who are bent on making a positive difference no matter what the condition of the school is.
12) The Quran is your closest friend
Build a connection with the Quran. Have different studies of the Quran. A deep study that spans over years and includes pondering His ayaat, daily reading in which you can finish once a month. Use a part of your break to pray 2 raka’a and to recite the Quran rather than spending time chatting away with your colleagues.