11 Things to Remember to Keep your Passion for Teaching Alive [Poster]
The floors are polished, the desks are clean, the pencils are sharpened, and the “Welcome Back” bulletin board is up. Teachers across the country have spent the last few weeks cleaning, organizing, decorating, and planning for their new classes. A new school year is underway!
As educators, we have a huge responsibility to our students, along with the parents who have entrusted their children to us. Whether you’re a rookie or a veteran, there will be days that it feels like you’re trying to push a peanut up a mountain. And there will be days that you feel every effort goes unnoticed. And then, there will be days that you see a child’s eyes light up with excitement when they finally “get it!” Those are the days that you’ll know exactly why you chose to become a teacher.
Teaching can be a challenging and exhausting job, but it can also be one of the most important and rewarding professions on the planet. The key is to never lose sight of your passion for teaching.
As you begin this new year, I’d like to share a few nuggets that helped me keep my passion alive.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Not every battle is worth fighting and children often don’t have a choice as to the baggage they bring with them. Try to remember that when kids come to school without supplies or homework or lunch money, it may be much more than a case of irresponsible behavior. Don't get caught in the weeds of the inevitable challenges. Focus on the big picture and the little people, and make time to enjoy the victories along the way.
Laugh. Smile. Breathe.
Don't measure "serious learning" with serious faces. Studies show that laughing and smiling create chemical changes in the brain that enable learning. Begin each day with a smile or even a joke to get the happy chemicals flowing, so your kids will learn more in an environment that promotes positivity and happiness. Beyond that, shouldn't you and your students enjoy the place where you spend so much of your time?
Remember why you chose to teach.
On the really tough days, think about the teacher who inspired you, believed in you, challenged you, and championed for you. Some of the most important things you’ll teach your students cannot be measured on a bubble sheet. Be the teacher who teaches students, not subjects. Teach them the meaning of character, compassion, and community through your modeling. Be the teacher who teaches them to love learning.
As someone who has walked in your shoes, I know how much passion, dedication, patience, hard work, and energy it takes to be the Chief Operating Officer of your classroom. There will be days that you feel exhausted, unappreciated, and unrecognized for your efforts. On those days, I hope you will stop, take a breath, and remember how important you are to your students, our communities, and our future.
As a “welcome back” gift to kick off this new year, download and print the above poster (which works great on the Perfecta® 2400 or Perfecta® 3600STP) to keep at your desk, or hang in the teachers' lounge at your school - to remind you of that passion.
“To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.” - Dr. Seuss
About Dr. Hughes
Dr. Melissa Hughes is the founder of The Andrick Group and the author of the book, Happy Hour with Einstein. She develops and delivers professional development opportunities for educators across the country based upon whole-brain thinking and learning for deeper cognition and increased student engagement.