By Teachers, For Teachers
There will be several points throughout the school year where you may feel like you have lost your drive and enthusiasm for teaching. This is completely normal and many teachers feel this way.
There can be several reasons for this.
First, many teachers complain that right before the midyear they feel a slump. This may be because the excitement of the start of the school year has died down, or because any chance of a vacation or other break seems so far away.
Second, some teachers feel tied down during standardized testing time. They get “burned-out” because new teaching standards are constantly changing which means they need to keep up with them, and many teachers feel like they are teaching to the test.
Third, at some point during the school year you will encounter disruptive students, behavior problems, parental obstacles, and administration related-issues. Maintaining passion in the face of all of the issues can be quite challenging. So, if you’re feeling completely discouraged at any point throughout the school year, just know that you are not alone. Follow these teaching strategies to help you regain your drive for teaching.
Easier said than done, right? Start by recognizing that you need to live in the moment. While it’s necessary to plan for the future of your classroom, you don’t need to stress about what is going to happen months from now. You will create issues that haven’t even happened in your head, which will lead to you feeling stressed and burned-out. Focus on the here and now, all you need is the strength to get through today. Research shows that about 90 percent of the things that we worry about never even come to fruition. Remind yourself daily that you need to focus on what is in front of you and not worry about what is ahead of you.
When you first started out teaching, you were enthusiastic about all of the things that you could teach the students. Then you realized that year after year you were thrown a curveball in some way or another. Maybe you didn’t get the grade that you really wanted to teach, or you were forced to change your lessons due to educational policies. Whatever the case may be, something happened to you that you didn’t anticipate. While these obstacles may seem like a race that you can’t win, you must remember that they are just a bump in the road. Everything has a silver lining. Just because you are teaching kindergarten instead of third grade doesn’t mean that you can’t do the lessons and activities that you wanted to. Everything can be adapted. If the new standards make you think that you are unable to be creative, you are wrong. Even if you must meet specific standards, you can still be creative in the way that you implement those standards. You must learn to adjust and adapt to everything that comes your way. Once you learn this lesson, it will be smooth sailing.
I’m sure you have come across those teachers who always seems to have it together and nothing seems to ever throw them for a loop. These are the people that you want to surround yourself with. Hang around people who are passionate for your profession and who can be encouraging when you’re going through a tough time. Surrounding yourself with people who feel negative will only bring you down. Passionate people are positive, and interacting with teachers like these will only give you the drive that you so desperately need right now.
Keeping that fire lit is not easy. Teaching can be challenging, and what it all comes down to in the end is passion. Passion and drive are going to be what keeps you in the teaching profession. While it’s completely normal to have challenging moments throughout the year, you need to find ways to maintain your passion. Besides living in the moment, being worry-free, learning to adapt and adjust to whatever comes your way, and surrounding yourself with motivating people, you should also take the time to reflect why you became a teacher in the first place. Think about the first time that you helped a child read or complete a math problem. Fill your brain with the miracles that you made happen within your teaching career. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, you will find your way back.
How do you keep your passion for teaching? Do you have any tips or strategies that you use when times get rough throughout the school year? Please share your expertise in the comment section below, we would love to hear your thoughts.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.