Have you fallen out of love?
I know that title is a little corny but, if you are in a place right now where you are having to drag yourself out of bed and into your classroom, you need to keep reading.
How Did This Happen?
You might be wondering how you got to this place. When you first started your career you were passionate, energetic, couldn't wait to change the world through education. You spoke up in meetings, shared inspirational quotes about learning and student achievement on social media, and wanted to make a difference.
Reality changes things quickly though. As you realized that teaching is more than just working with students but dealing with the bureaucracy of education. Things like: evaluations, less time, management issues, low funding, decrease in parent involvement, increasing class sizes and the constant requests to do more with less, tend to take the shine of the once esteemed and beautiful profession.
What You Can Do About It
Luckily, it's going to be ok and there are things you can do about this. I know you might be frustrated, burnt out, on your last straw with that student you've requested the exact same thing of every day (and they just did it again!).
When I had the worst teaching year of my career, that's how I felt every single day. I realized very quickly that something had to change. Here are 3 things that I did to Love teaching again and helped put me on the path to saving my teaching career.
1. Focus On Learning Again
One of the primary reasons teachers start to get frustrated is because instead of spending their days doing what the LOVE which is helping students learn and grow they get bogged down with the day to day weight of the current educational system. Something you may forget is that whether you realize it or not you control what happens in your classroom. If you can start focusing on your student's learning today, instead of planning for tomorrow, or the growing to-do list you have you will start to find your love for teaching again. Trying things like Mastery Learning, Competency-based learning, and Problem Based Learning can all help to make your classroom more student-centered and focused on learning.If you make the choice, decision, and commitment to care more about learning than: pace, testing, or your next evaluation, other things will start to fall into place. You will begin to find the reasons you love doing this again.
2. Stop Lecturing
Ok...I don't mean never talk to your students but seriously can we just all agree that lecturing is not only ineffective but boring for everyone involved including YOU!? (if you don't agree read this <<<INSERT LECTURE BLOG LINK). Create activities, and opportunities and instructional systems that allow you to facilitate learning instead of tyrannically control every piece of information that your students receive. When you lecture or instruct directly with students sometimes management is easier because you can usually keep a class quiet as long as your talking...BUT, engagement, learning, and let's be honest fun all go way down! Watching your students eyes glaze over or having them frantically copy pages of notes as you speak isn't what will make them stand on desks and yell: "Oh Captain My Captain!" (Didn't you see that movie: Dead Poet's Society with Robin Williams?) That's what the love of teaching is made of! Making that connection, seeing that lightbulb go off and changing a students lives forever!
3. Get to Know Your Students (again)
When you first get started this is pretty easy but sometimes, when this job is at its toughest, it is easy to forget how much of an impact your your students can have on you. I remember when I was at my lowest, realizing that I hadn't asked how a student's day was going, or laughed and made a joke with them in days. I was so consumed by the negativity and my frustration that I completely forgot why I was a teacher (the KIDS!). I started smiling at them more, dishing out fist bumps and just talking to my students again. Believe it or not, this was one of the biggest reasons I started wanting to go into work again. By having random conversations about "Jordans", video games, new movies, whatever came up, I was connecting with them on a HUMAN level. This not only made me care for them more as students but allowed me to connect with them in a way that made them trust and learn better from me when they were in my classroom.
Find your love for teaching again. I found mine and try to share it with teachers whenever I can. This is an amazing profession that I am proud to be a part of. You're an amazing educator with the gift to change the lives of thousands of students. Don't ever let the weight of this profession change your passion for what you do. Stay awesome...and always strive to Teach Better.