Teaching is one of the most rewarding careers. Teachers are on the front lines of changing children’s lives for the better. They work towards these goals every single day. Truthfully, burnout and stress can be part of the ups and downs of a career in education. If you have found yourself in one of these valleys, know you are not alone and you aren’t doing something wrong. It’s just the reality.
There is good news. Even when it seems like you have lost your passion for teaching, there are ways to reignite your passion. Afterall, when you first chose to be a teacher, you were a bundle of idealism. That part of you is still there, you just need to follow these steps to reconnect with it.
REVISIT THE PAST
Sometimes when we’re in the thick of a school year, it’s hard to remember how we felt when we first embarked on our education career journey. It’s at these times you need to reflect on the past. Take a look at the scrapbooks and mementos of your first years of teaching. Read through old notebooks or college papers you wrote. Reconnect with who you were then and see if that doesn’t reignite the spark.
It can also help to find out where your past students are now. If you’ve had students keep in touch with letters or emails, take a look at them and remember how you made a difference in their lives. You’re doing the same for your students today, even if you can’t see it right now.
When times are tough, it’s easy to look around and see how much teachers are weighted down by financial pressures. Often times, districts can’t afford everything a teacher and her students need. This can lead to teachers spending their own money on supplies, which can create a financial burden and stress on their personal lives. Today there are organizations such as DonorsChoose.org, where teachers can propose projects and generous school supporters give money to ideas they find compelling. Seek out opportunities to find ways to fund your classroom, without sacrificing your own funds.
Financial help isn’t the only thing a teacher needs. A strong support network of coworkers, friends, and partners can be crucial to helping any educator get through difficult times. When things are tough, don’t be afraid to lean on the people who support and love you.
SLOW IT DOWN
Finally, when feeling stretched too thin or overwhelmed, it’s okay to slow everything down. Sometimes finding ways to simplify your workload and focusing on the necessary details only can go a long way to alleviating stress and exhaustion, which can lead to the feeling like you’ve lost your passion. Professional Development can be a great way to reinspire, but make sure you’re able to balance it with your current workload. Taking care of yourself will help you recharge and reconnect with drive that made you an educator to start with.
What are some ways you keep your passion for teaching alive?