Getting to the Bottom of Why You Started Teaching
A teacher’s life may be both wonderfully gratifying and joyful at times and soul-crushing at other times. Extracurricular activities, administrative demands, standardized testing, parental pressure, student misbehavior, a lack of support, IEP meetings, professional development, and a plethora of other responsibilities can cause educators to lose sight of their determination and passion, leaving them stressed, anxious, and depressed. What can educators do to rediscover why they got into teaching in the first place?
Self-Care and Its Importance
Educators could take a similar approach to how airlines advise passengers to get their oxygen max before aiding others. Self-care is essential for educators to help them cope with the domineering cloud of worry, anxiety, and a loss of a sense of purpose that teaching may bring. Everyone has their methods of self-care that are unique to them. The following are a few of the more prevalent and successful ones:
- Computer and video games
- Board Games
- DIY Projects
- Developing or strengthening social connections
Rediscovering Purpose and Passion
After finding and using beneficial self-care practices, a teacher may more readily evaluate their job and not allow the problems to overshadow the advantages. A longer lifespan is significantly related to the ability to find meaning in one’s own life. It may have a cascading impact if educators can rediscover that purpose and approach their work with enthusiasm rather than despair.
Each teacher will find their purpose and passion in various ways, just as they do with self-care. For some, it may entail redecorating their classroom. Others may decide to take a fresh look at their curriculum, which hasn’t changed in 15 years and begin incorporating new activities. Simply stepping outside their classroom doors every day and fist-bumping each student with a grin and a “good morning” can be all some teachers need to reclaim their passion and purpose.
Discovering Your Origins
Digging deep and searching for the roots of why a teacher became a teacher in the first place is one of the most acceptable methods for a teacher to re-ground themselves in the profession. It might be a watershed point in their lives, such as when their 7th grade social studies teacher made the topic entertaining for the first time or asked if they had any concerns. Perhaps several family members were educators, and hearing their stories as they grew up inspired them to follow in their footsteps. A quick phone call to listen to some of those experiences or seek guidance can make all the difference.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to rekindling a teacher’s passion and purpose in the classroom. It’s a difficult task to re-establish motivation in the face of everything the profession requires, and it’s not simple.
The most excellent advice is to take it one day at a time, or even an hour at a time, take care of yourself and celebrate even the little victories in the students’ lives.