August 5, 2014

How to Regain Your Love of Teaching

Advice from Real Teachers
Does the return to school each fall fill you with excitement or give you a sinking feeling in your stomach? Even if you love teaching and wouldn't trade your job for any other, it's easy to find yourself dreading the end of summer and the return to school routines and responsibilities.

To find out how others overcome these feelings, I posted this question on my Teaching Resources Facebook page:
"Have you ever felt like you didn't want to go back to school in the fall, even though you love teaching? What advice do you have to offer to those who might be feeling this way? How do you motivate yourself to regain your enthusiasm for the profession?" 

Over 150 educators responded with fantastic tips and advice! Because most of you don't have time to read all the responses, I eliminated duplicate ideas and pared the list down to 18 of the best tips. If you would like to read all of the responses, click here to find them on my Facebook page. Even if you don't read them all, I'm sure you'll find something below to motivate you to rediscover your love of teaching!

18 Tips for Rediscovering Your Love of Teaching
  1. CarolAnn Eppens - At the end of the year I have students write a letter to me about what they liked about being in my class (I teach 4th grade) and a letter of advice to my future students.  I don't allow myself to read them till August. They bring a smile to my face & remind me of why I teach 
  2. Janette Young - I keep a 'smile' file with adorable cards/notes from students and also kind emails from parents & students. Looking back at them is inspiring - and makes me smile! :)
  3. Becky Ritenour - Think about those "a-ha" moments where you made a difference for one of your students. That kid who said he hated English on the second day of school and then turned around six weeks later and said "That book we just finished? I really liked it." Or the kid who told me "reading that book was better than any TV show or movie I've ever seen". That's what you're there to do. The paperwork, the red tape, the lack of supplies, the appreciation that rarely comes from administration, the daily grind of trying to get everything accomplished, etc. can dim our view, but think about those moments with your students.
  4. Rachel Moore - For me it's the relationships with the kids - I just remember the smiles I get in the morning, the letters and pictures I get drawn (I keep them all in a folder), the thank yous from their parents for making the transition from pre-school to school. 
  5. Rachael Rose - Read the book The First Days of School by Harry Wong. I have been teaching over 22 years and am always excited and inspired after reading this book!
  6. Joanna Martin - Once you get in the door and meet your students your motivation and love for teaching will come right back. Plan fun stuff for classes and then for yourself for after work. Remember the kids are feeling the same way. Think about those amazing transformations!
  7. MeLinda Gray - My best way to get back in the groove is to get in my room early, start redecorating, organizing, and rearranging. Then I start focusing on those first day activities and lesson planning.  Once I'm back in the classroom I tend to get more excited. I'm always up really early the first week of school because I am excited to see all the staff again and then get my kids in and rolling.
  8. Bonnie Jacquel - Look on Pinterest for new ideas! That gets me excited!
  9. Heather Hicks - Make a list of all the things about teaching for which you are grateful. Laughs, love, aha moments, student progress big or small, coworkers, supportive parents, (list individuals by name), students who impacted you in the past, things you've learned, the fact that you have a job when many do not, etc.
  10. Laura Osterman - I try to look for one new thing I want to try in the classroom every year. Sometimes it is just a new twist to an existing unit, lately I committed to totally flipping my class, so that is a 2-3 year project. But each year I look at what I want to try or improve. That and some really great music while moving in!
  11. Cathy Bowman - I downloaded some new activities and centers so I'd have new things to introduce that are fun. I made some new (2nd grade) crafts. It was fun and I'll have examples for them to follow. I always look forward to the new school year but it is hard to give up the summer!
  12. Michelle Pendergast - I changed grades and schools to combat this!
  13. Susan Braun - Read some inspiration. Check out some blogs with cool ideas. Find a passion you want to develop this year and start preparing. Sometimes just working with a theme can get me in gear!
  14. Karen Greenberg - Read an inspiring teaching book the weeks before school starts.
  15. Julie Thibault - Find a new way of doing things.  I started decorating my room using a theme to brighten things up.  Last year I turned my class into a jungle. I looked on Pinterest and TpT for ideas.  I made vines and tissue paper flowers. Then I shopped at the dollar store for fake plants etc.  the kids were so amazed and it was the only class like it in our school. This year I am doing Treasure Island with a pirate theme. It makes my class a fun place to be!
  16. Joan Armstrong - Go school clothes shopping,   :)
  17. Stephanie Compton - Have positive thoughts. Send those happy thoughts out and they will come back to you. Negativity just increases twice as fast. I told myself not to get stressed out, I am only one person and I do the very best job I can do and I have to be happy with that.
  18. Pe Howell - Spend the last few weeks of summer being really good to yourself, and do things that you like to do. That way, when it's time to go back, you're ready. I always know that I'll be working in my classroom the last week before school starts, so I spend the rest of the month of August enjoy the dog days of summer!
Thanks to everyone who shared their ideas and advice! Your words of wisdom will help others rediscover their passion for teaching and return to school with enthusiasm! If you would like to post a question and ask for advice, visit my Facebook page every Wednesday at 8:30 pm EDT and look for the Question Connection post. Chances are that someone else has the very same question, and you are sure to get some great advice from real teachers! 

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