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How to Reignite Your Passion for Teaching

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Are you on the edge of burnout? Here are some tried and true ways to reignite your passion for teaching.

How to Reignite Your Passion for Teaching

Finding Your Passion for Teaching Again

Teaching is a calling. Unlike other jobs, no one goes into teaching for the money, power, or glory.

Although it can be rewarding to make a difference, teaching can drain you physically, emotionally, and mentally.

You may find that teaching doesn’t bring you joy like it used to.

How do you find that joy again? Here are some ways to reignite your passion for teaching.

You can successfully overcome teacher burnout and rediscover the love for your profession.

How to Reignite Your Passion for Teaching

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Switch It Up

A change can be the spark to reignite your passion for teaching.

Grade Levels

Are you tired of running after littles and prepping crafts? Switch to an older grade.

Do you want to teach subjects at a more basic level and have generally more obedient students? Try teaching a lower grade.

You might love the new setting, or you might find the grass was not greener on the other side.

Either way, the grade level switch offers something new and novel, which is invigorating.

Content Areas

Is it possible for you to switch content areas?

Even if you love writing, you may find it easier to teach a subject where you are learning as well (like history).

Roles

Teachers fill several roles within the school.

If you are a homeroom teacher, try switching to a support teacher position or a media specialist.

You could also look for a job as a teacher trainer for your county or district.

Schools

The administration directly affects the teaching climate of the school. You know this is true.

Don’t be afraid to switch schools to find one more supportive of work-life balance (as in, they won’t guilt you for taking the odd personal day).

Districts

Sometimes, the teaching climate is district-wide. So switch it up.

States

Maybe this one seems drastic, but it can be a game-changer.

Many teachers find they much prefer teaching in a different state.

How to Reignite Your Passion for Teaching

Take a Break

If things are dire, you don’t have to leave the profession entirely.

Take a leave of absence (if possible), or even take a year off from teaching.

You could switch from public to private schools. Or vice versa.

Or you could move to the realm of private home education or tutoring. You pick the students, and there is much less paperwork!

Leave Work at Work

I know what you’re thinking, “Easier said than done.”

But to recover from teacher burnout, you need to be disciplined and change how you do things.

Work Within Your Contracted Hours

You are paid for the hours you work.

You are not paid for all the at-home time you are spending.

Those early mornings and late afternoons at school? You aren’t paid for those either.

You may need to change your systems (keep reading for more on that).

If it comes to it, you may need to switch schools to find an administration that supports a work-life balance.

Don’t Answer Work Emails After Work

Emails can wait until your contracted hours.

This may mean a parent has to wait 12 hours to reach you. That is okay. You wait for them, too.

Do yourself a favor and take your work emails off your phone. Then you won’t be tempted to check them at home.

How to Reignite Your Passion for Teaching

Develop a New Task Management System

A better task management system can help you leave work at work and have more time for self-care.

Traffic Light Sticky Notes

Every day, put your to-dos on sticky notes. Use red, yellow, and green sticky notes.

Red sticky notes are a top priority and must be done that day.

Yellow sticky notes need to be addressed that week.

Green sticky notes are “would be great to get done but this is not urgent.”

Eat the Frog

Mark Twain famously said eating a frog first thing in the morning would make the rest of the day easier.

Basically, get the biggest, most pressing job done first.

Make that your first order of the day.

Work During Arrival and Dismissal and Other Pockets of Time

Don’t wait for a planning period (or arrive super early or stay extra late).

Find tiny pockets of time during the day when you can get work done.

Two under-utilized times are arrival and dismissal.

Share the Workload

Your teacher team should not just be a team in name only.

Pool the work!

Try divvying up the planning among you (each teacher takes a couple of subjects).

Assemble resources in assembly-line fashion.

Plan Ahead…Way Ahead

Here is a veteran teacher tip: Plan two weeks ahead and stay two weeks ahead.

Buy a ten-drawer rolling cart and assign a day to each drawer (two weeks of Monday through Friday).

Choose one day each week where you will stay late or take work home (and stick to that).

On that day, plan for the week two weeks ahead. Place the materials in the corresponding drawer.

How to Reignite Your Passion for Teaching

Change Your Mindset

If you connect your job satisfaction with “lives changed,” your contentment will rise and fall with student outcomes.

You need to change your mindset about what constitutes “a job well done.”

You are not solely responsible for your students’ successes and failures.

Many factors affect student outcomes.

Do what you can. Let that be enough.

Let your validation come from knowing you performed your job to the best of your ability using your existing experience and resources.

Be kind, be fair, and be professional. That is enough.

How to Reignite Your Passion for Teaching

Self-Care

You are a teacher. But you are also way more than that. You are a person.

If you are going to last in teaching, you need to take care of yourself.

Here are some ideas, but you can find more in Self-Care for Teachers.

Gratitude Journaling

Although journaling can help you reflect on your day, you must be careful that your writing does not concentrate your negative feelings.

Instead, keep a gratitude journal.

A gratitude journal entry does not have to be novel-length.

You can simply write three things that you are thankful for each day.

You will amazed at how it changes your outlook.

Do for Others

Sometimes, self-care involves taking the focus off of yourself.

You may find personal fulfillment in lifting up others.

Write encouraging notes to people on your staff.

Bring in coffee for your team.

Find satisfaction and joy in brightening the lives of others.

Take Up a Hobby

You are not just a teacher. You can be a well-rounded person.

Take up a new hobby that relaxes you.

This could be a kickball league or a craft (like crochet).

Make Fun Plans

Work. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

That is a recipe for burnout.

Try adding something fun into that routine.

Insert “Margarita Night” or “Movie Night” or “Zoomba” into your cycle.

Make plans that you look forward to; this gives you something else to think about besides work.

Prioritize Stress Relief

What relieves your stress?

If you can’t answer this question, try mindfulness and meditation, yoga, dance, or some other form of exercise.

You can also try therapy. Having someone listen can make a big difference.

How to Reignite Your Passion for Teaching

Find New and Exciting Education Experiences

You may find that you reignite your passion for teaching by adding in some exciting educational experiences.

Conferences

With the advent of online training, many teachers stay isolated and miss out on the benefits of being together.

Continuing education conferences can be invigorating!

Join your state organization and attend a state (or even national) conference.

Take a Leadership Role

Find your purpose again by taking on a leadership role.

You can join your state subject teacher’s association and join the board.

Is your state looking for input on policy? Get involved with that and make a change!

If you are an ELA teacher, join the National Writing Project.

You can also get involved with your teachers’ union and become a leader who helps other teachers.

Go Back to School

Teachers love learning.

You might be experiencing burnout because your role has become stale.

Go back to school! Get that additional certification or master’s degree!

Listen to New Ideas

The teaching profession is changing so fast.

Listen to professional development podcasts or audiobooks on your drive to work.

Seek out content that focuses on new trends and new solutions.

Collaborate with Others

Teaching can be isolating (this is ironic, considering you are surrounded by students all day).

Find excitement by collaborating with others.

Reach out to teachers who teach your same subject (even at different schools).

Work with your team or ask for advice from other teams.

Brainstorm a cross-curricular project.

Collaboration breeds new ideas.

How to Reignite Your Passion for Teaching

How to Reignite Your Passion for Teaching

Burnout does not have to mean “the end.” It does not mean you have no choice but to quit.

You can reverse it and revive your love for teaching with these ideas.

It’s time to get out of your rut and try something new!

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