Keeping Your Passion for Teaching Alive
By Rachel Wells
As teachers, we have a huge responsibility to our students and to the parents who have entrusted their children with us. Whether it’s your first year or tenth, there are bound to be days when the challenges of teaching outweigh the joys. And then there are days when you see a student’s eye light up when they finally “get it” – and those days it’s easy to remember why you became a teacher.
As someone who has walked in your shoes, and spent 12 years in the classroom, I understand how much passion, patience, hard work, and energy is takes to run a classroom. And on those days that are especially tough – try to remember how much of an impact you are having on every one of your students’ lives.
Here are six ways you can maintain your enthusiasm and keep your passion for teaching alive.
Remind Yourself Why You Became a Teacher
Take time to remember why you became a teacher. Think back to that passion, drive, and excitement when it was new! Those feelings are still in you – sometimes it just takes some effort to dig them back up. Be a teacher that teaches students, not subjects. Take time to remember the goals you had when you first started, and think about ways you can continue to work to accomplish them.
Be a Lifelong Learner
Remember – you may be the teacher, but you are also always learning! Be the teacher who teachers their class to love learning, by showing them that you still love to learn too.
Incorporate Your Passions
Whenever you can, find ways to work your passions into your classroom/curriculum. Students really feed off their teacher’s energy, and will often get really excited about a topic that they know their teacher is excited about.
If you love dinosaurs – decorate your classroom to match, leave out a stash of dinosaur books in your classroom and hold a dinosaur trivia game on Fridays, or make a fun research unit that fits with your curriculum.
Love watching hockey? Name student groups after your favorite teams, play hockey theme music during transitions, incorporate a big game into your writing curriculum.
Maybe being outdoors really invigorates you – try read or do a subject area each day outside with your class!
Befriend Your Colleagues
Find a work friend that you can go to for advice, talk to when you need to vent, and share awesome ideas with.
Take Care of Yourself
Self-care seems to be one of the first things pushed aside for teachers – and it’s easy to do so. With so many student needs to take care of, we often neglect our own needs. You have to find time to take care of yourself – even if that means actually scheduling it in to your calendar! An hour a day can make a huge difference. And remember, it’s okay to not be busy sometimes!
You can also leave yourself a little self-care treat in your classroom (a special relaxing lotion or essential oil, or a yummy treat).
Remember not to take yourself too seriously. It’s okay to step away from the curriculum and make your students laugh, or share a joke and laugh together. A laughter filled classroom is almost always more relaxing and enjoyable to learn in!
Teaching is one of the most rewarding professions – as long as you never lose sight of your passion for teaching and making a difference in the lives of your students!