How to Restore Your Motivation to Teach

Julie, Head of Content and Curriculum, shares her tips for how to restore your motivation to teach. We all have tough stretches in our classrooms where we forget our "why" and lose our energy and passion for this work. These are her favorite ways to get back on track.

Updated on: October 31, 2019

How to Restore Your Motivation to Teach

Some days in the classroom are really hard. We have all had days where the lesson doesn’t click, students are disruptive, we can’t find the copies we printed that morning, and to top it all, we spill coffee on our shirt. Sometimes hard days in the classroom start to stack up, and we may find ourselves questioning why we teach, and if we still want to teach.

What do we do when we have zero motivation in the classroom?

One of the most effective ways to restore your motivation to teach is to connect to why you teach. When we get stuck in the day-to-day challenges of teaching, we often forget the importance of teaching itself.

Find Your "Why"

So when you find yourself with zero motivation, ask yourself: "Why is being a teacher important to me?"

For example, teaching is important to me because it is an opportunity to make sure children are seen and heard and develop the passion and confidence to embrace learning opportunities.

My first answer focuses on my students. Now, I will answer again, and shift the focus to myself.

Teaching is important to me because it challenges me. No two days are the same. Teaching has taught me how to be flexible, and has stretched me to continue to grow in my teaching approach and style.

When I coach teachers, I recommend that they write down why they teach, and frame it on their desk. When the going gets tough, they can pause, look at their "why" and re-center.

Get Inspired

One of the most exciting things about teaching today is how many tools and resources are available to us. Spend five minutes on Pinterest and you will find a new teaching idea that energizes you. Listen to an education podcast and be reminded that you aren’t the only teacher who doesn’t feel motivated at times. Read a professional development book and mark up the text like you are a student again.

One of the most effective ways to restore motivation is to take action.

This doesn’t mean you have to take on a big project or make big changes in your classroom. Sometimes a podcast, a few chapters in a book or scrolling teacher accounts on Instagram is enough to bring back your excitement.

Fill Your Cup

When you aren’t feeling motivated to teach, it can be helpful to do something kind for yourself. One of my favorite mantras is "What do I need to do right now to feel the way I need to feel?" The answer can be as simple as sit and drink a cup of tea. You might need to read a book or take a nap. Self-care isn’t "one-size-fits-all." Rather than obsessing over why you are losing motivation or pushing yourself, a short pause and mental break can restore some of your motivation. Chances are when you come back to your classroom the next day you will feel more energized and ready to begin again.

How do you stay motivated to teach? Share with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Julie Mason is the Head of Content and Curriculum for TeacherVision. She brings expertise in blended and personalized learning, instructional coaching, and curriculum design to the role. She was a middle and high school English teacher for eight years and most recently taught at Dana Hall, an all-girls school in Wellesley, MA. She was a blended and personalized learning instructional coach for K-12 teachers at BetterLesson for two years, and she has presented at The National Principals Conference, ISTE, and ASCD where she shared her expertised on how instructional coaching builds teacher capacity in K-12 schools. She has extensive experience designing and facilitating professional development for teachers, and she oversees the TeacherVision advisory board.

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