The past few years have been overwhelming, but it's possible to rediscover the joy in teaching

4 ways to reclaim your love of teaching

The past few years have been overwhelming, but it's possible to rediscover the joy in teaching

If you feel like this year has been more stressful, more overwhelming, and more difficult to find the joy of teaching than ever before, you’re not alone. With pandemic protocols, political unrest, and increasing workloads and responsibilities ravishing the classroom, the heart of teaching can at times feel lost.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Let’s face it–many of these things are not under our control. If we hope to reignite our passion for education, we’re going to need to put them aside and focus on what we can change.

Ultimately, there is only one thing that any of us can really control: ourselves. The choices we make can often determine how we meet new challenges in our day-to-day life. While I don’t want to minimize the challenges we’re facing in the classroom, I do believe we can create positive outcomes when we focus on our personal growth, connections, and contributions.

Here are just a few strategies you can employ to help reignite your passion for teaching:       

1. Give yourself grace: Showing self-compassion is the act of being kind to yourself and realizing that suffering, imperfections, and failures are part of being human. Consider creating a grace journal where you record incidents that leave you feeling frustrated or inadequate. Then write a few sentences to yourself from the perspective of a caring and compassionate friend. You can also create a list of everything that makes you feel energized and use it as a resource when feeling low.  

2. Reframe the negative: It’s all too easy for your mind to get swamped by negative thoughts. Start by steering clear of toxic complainers who will drain your energy. Second, start replacing your “coulds” and “shoulds.” Reflection is an important part of growing, but there’s no point in wallowing in past mistakes. Additionally, avoid toxic positivity. Toxic positivity imposes that positivity is the only solution to problems. However, it is important to recognize that negative emotions are normal. Talk with nonjudgmental people and avoid always trying to always have a positive response.     

3. Set YOUR goals: It is so easy to lose sight of your personal and professional goals as demands of the day-to-day take priority. Remember that your profession is also about you and what makes you tick as a teacher. Seek out PD opportunities that matter to you and find like-minded educators on social media who will provide a supportive environment. For more intentional goal-setting, consider using the SMART Goal protocol to create specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goals.

4. Celebrate your success: It is imperative to reflect and celebrate your many accomplishments. These include those huge milestones (i.e. receiving an advanced degree) or smaller scale, but nonetheless incredible, achievements (i.e. effectively redirecting a negative behavior). Consider keeping a record of your successes by writing them on pieces of paper and keeping them in a jar. And remember to share your awesome! Teachers want to hear from teachers. Consider presenting at conferences and workshops. If you are on social media, share what you are doing. We all love to hear from each other–we truly are better together!

Remember, we may not be able to control everything, but we still have a say in the things that matter. If you found these strategies helpful, be sure to check out the expanded list in our latest free webinar. Using these resources, we hope to see teachers rediscover their commitment to education and find the support needed to thrive. Together, we have the passion, creativity, and grit to overcome any challenge!

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