How to keep motivated as a Teacher
With the winter months bringing the rain, cold and some snow. It can be hard to keep motivated during these dark winter days. The children are excited at the possibility of snow and may not be in the frame of mind to learn and by this time in the year you will more than likely be exhausted and wondering how long is left until half term. If you are starting to struggle here are 10 different ways to help you keep motivated in the post-Christmas haze.
Switch it up
One particular problem with this time of year is monotony. You’ve got your routine sorted, the children are settled in and each day starts to feel the same. To help break this monotony is the switch it up a bit. This can be either changing the seating plan, swap the subjects in your schedule or perhaps change up how your start your day. This can be playing music as your students enter in the morning, do a lesson in the gym. Another way you can change things up is to get your students blogging or perform a science experiment that isn’t part of your curriculum.
2. Look after yourself
This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s always helpful to have a reminder. As a teacher your diet and health can often be forgotten about or the last thing on your mind. No matter how busy you are always make time to cook a healthy lunch and remember to eat it. A chocolate bar isn’t the best thing to have for lunch. No matter how busy you are remember to use your lunchtime to eat your lunch and get out of the classroom, even if it’s just a quick walk. Also ensure you get enough rest, there isn’t much point staying up late lesson planning or marking if you’re too tired the next day to properly teach your class.
3. Look at past years
This time of year, can be particularly stressful. There’s a lot going on and not much time left in the term, if you are starting to feel the stress build up it can help to look at past work. It’s a great practice to keep student work from past years and can be valuable resources and examples for later classes. Looking back at past work can not only help your students it can help you as well. If your feeling the midterm slump, look at past successes your students have and remind yourself how much you helped your students succeed.
Don’t wait until the new year or class to try out something new. If you have an idea you want to try, why not give it a go now. Test it out and collect data, if it works well tell your colleagues. There’s no point in waiting till another time to implement those ideas, instead seize the day and try out those ideas now.
5. Teach skills that aren’t necessarily on the curriculum
I know it can be difficult to just about manage to teach the curriculum during the school year, but it is important to try and take some time out during the day to teach valuable life skills. This can be from punctuality, interpersonal skills, to teamwork, work ethic and leadership ability. These skills will help children develop and learn the necessary skills for adult life. For example, a primary school in Swansea rented a shop and created a pop-up shop which the students solely ran. This taught them customer service skills, work ethic, maths skills by using a till. As well as selling, stocking shelves, cleaning up, opening and closing the shop. This has been a resounding success and something the school will continue to do each year.
6. Read an educational book
This is a super easy way to revitalise your lesson plans. Read some current educational books and try out the best ideas that will fit your classroom. Test out and see which ones work best for you and your students. This will not only help your students but also help you develop as a teacher.
7. Notice how far you’ve come
A great way to help get back your motivation is to see how much you’ve improved, whether that’s from the beginning of term, last year or over the past couple of years. Try looking back at an old lesson plan and see how much better you can deliver it now compared to then.
8. Take some time out for you
This may seem like a fairly obvious one, but it never hurts to have a gentle reminder. Take some time out just for you, it can be to read a non-educational book or to have a nice relaxing bath. Try to carve out a bit of time every day that’s just for you, this will help you feel rejuvenated and recharged ready to get back into the classroom.
9. Observe other teachers
See what is happening in other classrooms. By seeing how other teachers teach, how they deliver lessons and engage students can help you develop ideas to use within your own classroom, or perhaps help you decide that you would like to teach another year group.
10. Be patient
Just remember that all professions have their ups and downs. Talk to other teachers about it, most often they will tell you that they’ve been in the exact position you are in now. Try making minor changes and leave the door open for motivation to find you when you least expect it. Before you know it, you’ll be swimming in ideas and not enough time to try them all out. Perseverance is key, teaching isn’t an easy job but it’s a job worth doing and the rewards far out way any negatives.
Do you have any helpful tips to help teachers stay motivated? If so, comment below or Tweet us @Staffroomed