If you feel like this year has been more stressful, more overwhelming, and more difficult to find the joy of teaching than ever before, you’re not alone. With pandemic protocols, political unrest, and increasing workloads and responsibilities ravishing the classroom, the heart of teaching can at times feel lost.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Let’s face it–many of these things are not under our control. If we hope to reignite our passion for education, we’re going to need to put them aside and focus on what we can change.
Ultimately, there is only one thing that any of us can really control: ourselves. The choices we make can often determine how we meet new challenges in our day-to-day life. While I don’t want to minimize the challenges we’re facing in the classroom, I do believe we can create positive outcomes when we focus on our personal growth, connections, and contributions.
Here are just a few strategies you can employ to help reignite your passion for teaching:
1. Give yourself grace: Showing self-compassion is the act of being kind to yourself and realizing that suffering, imperfections, and failures are part of being human. Consider creating a grace journal where you record incidents that leave you feeling frustrated or inadequate. Then write a few sentences to yourself from the perspective of a caring and compassionate friend. You can also create a list of everything that makes you feel energized and use it as a resource when feeling low.
Dawn McCotter is the Teacher Programs Manager at Van Andel Institute for Education, a Michigan-based nonprofit that works to create classrooms where curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking thrive. To learn more about VAI please visit vaei.org.