3 Habits that Drain Teacher Motivation

BookCoverPictureFeeling unmotivated? Here are a few reasons your enthusiasm might be sagging, and some tips for making it through the slump.

Dispiriting discussions are draining the gas in your teaching tank

Dealing with kids all day can make you crave the company of other adults, but not all adult conversations are equally helpful. Teachers’ lounge gripe sessions may help let off steam some days but feel toxic on others. Others times, it is more discouraging to talk to the new teacher down the hall who’s sure she’s doing a fantastic job and can’t wait to tell you about it. Just remember: Productive teaching conversations are comforting rather than overwhelming. Any conversation that makes those Sunday-night stomach cramps worse is not the conversation you need to have right now.

Your Teacher “To Do” List Never Gets to “Done”

Staring at an infinite to-do list can take a toll on your motivation. But I don’t have to tell you that. Here are a few toxic teacher to-do list mistakes that might be making your list unmanageable. Plus, how to get (closer to) a list of things that are actually doable—and then done.

Your Teaching Style Doesn’t Fit Quite Right

People constantly tell you to choose your battles in teaching. What they don’t tell you is that some of the battles not worth fighting are with yourself. If your planned teaching style requires you to be a robot, or saint, or delighted helicopter mom to 180 kids, don’t be surprised if it turns out not to be a very successful teaching style at all. A teacher’s job description has lots of moving parts, some of which make us happy and others of which make us very unhappy. Focus on the parts of the job you love most. Work to minimize the parts that you don’t. A year of sacrificing your own health, happiness, and sanity won’t benefit your students nearly as much as being a person who wants to be in the room with them.

Sign Up for the Disillusionment Power Pack

The Disillusionment Power Pack is a free one-month series of emails meant to help teachers through the hardest part of their first year.

It gets better. But until then, these emails should help.