Have you lost your passion or education? Or maybe you have never really felt that spark? If so, there are a few, simple changes you can make to help you enjoy teaching.
Understand That It Isn’t One Size Fits All
The tips below work for many teachers, but they don’t work for all. Sometimes the problem you are facing is bigger than what is going on in the classroom. Sometimes you are fighting burnout that can only be cured with a break.
However, if you just aren’t feeling that passion and you wish you were, these tips are definitely worth a shot. They have worked for me when I have found myself in a rut, and I hope that they can work for you as well.
Break Away from Monotony
Routine is great. In fact, routine is necessary to stop a classroom from devolving into chaos. However, too much routine makes the days monotonous, and that will burn you out eventually.
Do you find yourself doing the same activities day after day, but with a different theme? Do your lessons this year feel just like the lessons last year? And the year before that?
Find ways to work within your routines while still making your classes exciting—for both you and your students. One of the benefits of teaching over working other jobs is that every day can be something new and surprising. Don’t sacrifice your enjoyment for comfort and routine.
Stop Focusing on Control
Part of what can cause you to stop enjoying teaching is focusing too much on control. Yes, you need to be in charge, and the students must know that. But micromanaging 24 or more students is stressful, plain and simple.
Start looking for areas where you can take a step back and give the students control without hurting your classroom management. You might discover that things don’t match up with your vision, or that your classroom gets a little louder than you would like, but the creativity and drive you see in your students will remind you why you got into this field in the first place.
Know What You Can Do, Accept What You Cannot
This sounds like it is about control, and in some ways it is. But what I am getting at here is more in terms of outside expectations. You are expected to ensure that all kids pass the test. You are expected to reform behavior. You are expected to reach learners of various abilities and learning styles, all in the same lesson.
Know your limits. Be realistic. Yes, some people might be disappointed, but you are human; you cannot do it all.
This is probably the biggest reason teachers experience burnout; they just cannot meet all the expectations placed upon them. If you can learn to work around this, you have it made.
Be Who You Are
For many teachers, there is their teacher-self, and then there is their real-world self. Their teacher-self is a censored version of their real-world self that is meant to make them more professional, but what it usually does is place distance between the teacher and the students.
Kids are smart; they know when you are being fake. And if you are fake every day, you will never develop the connections with your students that allow you to love what you do and drive you to come into work each day. Be authentic. Be you. Relax.
Not sure if you are putting up that wall with your students? Next time you run into one outside of school, look at their expression; if they look like they just saw an animal that escaped from the zoo, you are probably putting up a wall between you and your students.
Try these tips out and recapture the excitement you once felt about teaching; this profession is far too special to waste even a moment of it.