5 Thoughts on Staying Motivated as a Teacher
Let’s face it, we all have times when we think we just can’t go on with the job anymore. We all have moments when we wonder why on earth we are not doing something a lot less stressful and demanding than teaching. You would be unique if you didn’t have these thoughts at least a few times in your career. For some, depending on their teaching environment, these can even be weekly or daily thoughts.
“…for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Hamlet Act 2, scene 2, 249-250
Shakespeare has a point. What’s important is to recognise that although there are many things you cannot control, there are some things you can control: your attitude and perspective. Teachers see things differently because they take different perspectives on things. So do kids: that’s why some love you and some don’t. So when you’re doing it tough, take a positive perspective on things without losing a grip on reality.
Here are some top tips to keep you motivated…
- Why did you become a teacher? The reasons why you became a teacher in the first place are often forgotten amongst the daily and yearly trials of the job. Think for a moment why you are doing what you are doing. No, it is not to pay the bills! You became a teacher for a specific reason. For some it was because they thought they could make a difference, for others it was because they love learning and love sharing. Whatever it was, remember it every day. This can help you through the tough moments.
- You are important! Don’t forget for one moment how important you are to the children you have in front of you. You spend a lot more time with them than their parents do. You are responsible for what they learn and how they behave. You are a living example of how they should be: kind, caring, thoughtful, diligent and persevering. Remember this.
- Teaching is difficult: do you think they would let anyone do it? No! Just think on this for a moment: you are one of the few who is intelligent enough, persevering enough and caring enough to keep coming back despite all the hurdles that you face. You make a difference, and there are not many out there willing to do what you do. Good on you!
- See how far you have come as a teacher. Look back then look forward. The chances are, you are improving in what you do. Let this inspire you and keep you moving upwards. It’s not just the salary that has changed over the years, it’s the improvements in your teaching practices, your wins with students, your behaviour management skills, the friends you have made, the career choices that are opening up to you. The future is bright.
- God will give you many graces for your work. Teaching is an apostolate. Have you ever considered that the job you are doing is primarily a supernatural one? God has called you to do this work. Teach with humility and confidence for the children, for The Church and for God. What you do as a teacher will be reflected in your students. As Dom Chautard, the French Trappist Abbot, says “… if he is a man of prayer some word will now and again slip out, not only from his lips but from his heart: some sentiment or other will show itself in his expression, some significant gesture will escape him, yes, the mere way he makes the sign of the Cross, or says a prayer before or after class ―even a class in mathematics!―may have a more profound influence on his students than a whole sermon.”
Whenever you need a boost, go over these points in your mind, pray to Our Blessed Mother for perseverance and thank God for trusting you in such an important role. God bless you.