Words of Wisdom from a Former Educator
by Kelly Campman, RC FOR & KC Club Director
When I was a teacher, I remember times when I felt the need for some motivation. Teaching is such a difficult job physically and mentally. Some years were harder than others. But, I knew that if I didn’t feel motivated to teach, my students definitely wouldn’t feel motivated to learn. So, here are some simple and intentional strategies I put in place to increase my motivation.
1. Give yourself a hard stop.
I know that’s easy to say, but if you don’t, you will end up staying at school way beyond your required hours. We all do it…funny how we arrive at work way earlier than most professions, then we also stay later than most. We say it’s to survive, but is it? You need to give yourself a stopping point.
2. Schedule PD that YOU really want to attend!
So often, teachers have to attend PD that is planned by the Principal or required by the school district. There is nothing worse than attending PD that doesn’t engage you, especially when you’d rather be working in your classroom. Find a meaningful conference or workshop that will help inspire you so that you can inspire your students.
3. Find one trusted friend or colleague to share celebrations and frustrations.
No one understands the feelings and situations we go through as teachers better than another educator. My friend and I used to have weekly “Brain Dumps.” We would share, we would laugh, we would cry, we would vent, and then we’d be done with it. There’s nothing wrong with venting as long as you don’t let it become toxic.
4. Be kind to yourself.
There is not a better feeling than when you nail a lesson! However, there are times when they completely bomb. We wish every lesson could be perfect, but no one is perfect. Give yourself some grace, reflect, take a deep breath, and try again. Believe me, you’ll nail it another time!
5. Take advantage of your weekends and breaks.
When you have down time, use it! Hang with your family or friends. You have to have a good work-life balance to stay motivated and to have the energy to keep doing this job. You’ll never say, “I sure wish I had graded more papers on the weekends!” But you will say, “I sure wish I’d spent more time with my kids, parents, spouse, friends, etc.”
I read a quote recently from a teacher that said, “Teaching is not for the faint-hearted, but for the warm-hearted.” How true is that? When I was a Principal, I told everyone that teaching is the hardest job there is, but it’s also one of the most important. So, stay motivated, and remember that you are truly changing the world one student at a time. Don’t forget to make every day count!