Developing Your Sense Of Purpose, Evaluating Your Passion, And Tapping Into Why You Began Teaching
The life of a teacher can be incredibly fulfilling and joyous at sometimes and soul-crushing at others. The weight of extracurriculars, administrative pressures, standardized testing, parental pressure, student misbehavior, lack of support, IEP meetings, professional development, and countless other responsibilities can make teachers lose sight of their purpose and passion while crippling them with stress, anxiety, and depression. What can teachers do to tap back into why they began this career in the first place?
The Importance Of Self-Care
Just as airlines state to place an oxygen max on yourself before helping others, a similar approach should be taken by teachers. Self-care is vital to help remove the overbearing cloud of stress, anxiety, and loss of sense of purpose that teaching can place on educators. Everyone has their own self-care techniques that are personal to them. Some of the most common and effective are:
- Video Games
- Board Games
- DIY projects
- Developing more or stronger social relationships
Find Purpose And Passion Again
After useful self-care techniques are found and used, a teacher can then start to more easily evaluate their career as a teacher and not let the negatives diminish the positives. Having the ability to find purpose in one’s self is strongly linked to a longer lifespan. When teachers can rekindle that purpose and approach their job with passion instead of dread it can create a cascading effect.
Just as with self-care, each teacher will find their purpose and passion in different ways. For some, it might be redecorating their classroom completely. Others might take a fresh look at their curriculum they haven’t changed in 15 years and start to implement different activities. Even simply standing outside the doors of their classroom every day and fist-bumping each student with a smile and “good morning” might be all some need to start making steps towards becoming a passionate and purposeful teacher again.
Finding Your Roots
One of the best ways for a teacher to ground themselves within the profession again is to dig deep and search for the roots of why they became a teacher to begin with. It could be a pivotal moment in their lives such as their 7th grade social studies teacher making the content fun for the first time or taking the time to ask them if anything was bothering them. Maybe numerous family members are or were teachers and growing up and hearing their stories encouraged them to follow in their footsteps. A quick phone call to hear some of those stories or get advice can make a world of difference.
There is no one solution for how an individual teacher can get their purpose and passion back into teaching. It is a daunting task trying to find that motivation again under the weight of everything the profession entails which makes it not easy to do.
The best piece of advice is to take it a day, or even just an hour at a time, take care of yourself, and celebrate even the smallest successes in the lives of the students.