6 Ways to Love Teaching Again

I know you have heard it before. Teaching is calling, not a job. While that may be true, just because you are called to be a teacher does not necessarily mean that you always love it. This time of year, the joy of teaching always seemed to fade. The time of year when our days seemed to revolve exclusively around a test, not authentic learning experiences. This joy sucking item was always a billion times worse for me than the worst paperwork, parent requests, or classroom management issues, I suppose mostly because it always seemed so arbitrary to me. 
After much though and reflection, it is up to you to make the choice to love teaching despite everything that is thrown at you, any time of year. Following are my six blue mood busters that remind my why I loved teaching to begin with. 

Get Inspired

As a whole, we as teachers, are some seriously inspiring people. I mean, I know there are the Negative Nancys out there, but overall we kick some serious butt. You don't have to look far to find some inspiration either. Look to your next door neighbor, teammate, or other coworker. I can just about guarantee that someone in your very own building is doing some pretty inspiring things. Take in that inspiration, and allow it to overcome you. It is an instant mood booster! 

Is the morale in your building down a bit? Check out Pinterest or your favorite blog for some inspiration. There are loads and loads of teachers out there doing amazing things in spite of various circumstances, and they are sharing it with you. Take it in my friend, and do your thing with that energy!

Another great way to get inspired is to read an inspiring book about teaching. One of my favorite is Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess.  The ideas in the book are sure to inspire you! Another truly inspiring teacher is Ron Clark who has some revolutionary ideas for education. His latest book is Move Your Bus. (affiliate links)

Take a Break

Give yourself permission to take a step back. You do NOT have to be perfect all the time. I know that Pinterest and Facebook may make it seem like those super teachers are always on their game, but the truth is that they don't take pictures of failed lessons even though they have them too. 

One trick I used that I swear by was to play one of my favorite songs in my classroom, all by myself, alone during the first few minutes of my planning period. Sometimes I would just sit and listen, and other times I would dance around like a maniac. I would just do whatever it was that I needed that day. This 3-5 minutes allowed me to get my mind in the right place to accomplish my goals. Giving up a little bit of time in the beginning can pay off in spades when you are focused. 

Find Your Passion

What are you truly passionate about? Do you love writing? Math? Share that passion with your students, coworkers, and admin. You will all be better for it? Personally I LOVED teaching writing, but my teammate hated it. Her passion was math. Together we were able to work together and plan really engaging lessons for our students that incorporated both of our passions. In the end it made both of our lives a whole lot easier, and served our students well. 

Take Care of Yourself First

I recently saw a picture with the quote, "You can't pour from an empty cup." That one hit home hard. Without taking care of yourself, you will NEVER be able to reach your full potential in the classroom. Give up that late night at work to take care of yourself and do something you enjoy. Do you miss working out? Eating an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's while watching television? Going to bed at 6 pm? Whatever it is that you need to do, do it! No judgement here, as a matter of fact I have don't all three of those in the past week! 

Find Your Tribe

Teaching is tough, and you need warriors there with you! There has been a lot of talk of finding your tribe in the last year or so, but it always seems to center around like minded individuals. That is great, and we need to have coworkers and friends that we can work with. 
I would challenge you though to find a few individuals that you share goals with, but don't necessarily agree with on methods, because that is where you grow, find new ideas, and ultimately have the greatest affect on your students. This might mean that you reach outside of your school building. One of the best working relationships I have is with a high school science teacher. We have exactly zero curriculum in common, but we do have a common goal of reaching all students with engaging lessons. We are both able to throw ideas around, and come up with some truly amazing lessons for both of our classes! 

Celebrate Even the Smallest of Victories

This is a given. As a teacher you have to get excited about the little stuff. 

You students got in line the first time you asked? 
Sounds like a great reason to have a thirty second dance party when you return to the room!

Your student FINALLY remembered to capitalize the first letter in their name?
High fives all around!

There are Goldfish crackers left after a lesson?
Score! Keep this one to yourself though, and munch away! 

Basically, teaching is tough, but you love it!

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