Do you ever think about why you decided to teach in the first place? Each day is a new day, and remembering your first motivation to become a teacher fuels the drive and motivation to help our students succeed. Use that motivation and inspiration to drive instruction and allow the students in your classroom to thrive. On the days that seem tougher than most, perhaps one of these strategies will work for you to stop and remember WHY you made the right choice to become a classroom teacher.
Every year, too many teachers close their doors and never return to the classroom, and it’s time to start asking “why?” New teacher attrition rates are increasing every year (Ingersoll & Merrill, 2010). At an alarming rate, nearly 40 to 50% of new teachers leave the profession after 5 years (Amos, 2014).
Teacher burnout is problematic for parents, students, and school districts. It is important to note that things can get tough, but you can do it! Here are four strategies to help you remember and recall your passion, drive, and motivation for teaching.
1. Create your Why video!
Create a 30–60-second video about why you chose to teach. You could share your Why video during a professional development session or with colleagues to encourage and support each other. Additionally, this video could be used as a reminder of why you entered the teaching field as a professional career.
Check out these Why videos made by three KDP members.
This webinar introduces you to a variety of platforms that can be used to create a digital story: Using Digital Storytelling to Promote Understanding of Self and Others
2. Watch and reflect!
If you don’t have the time to create a Why video, another suggestion is to videotape yourself teaching one of your favorite lessons. This video gives you an opportunity to reflect on a great lesson you had in the classroom. Watching a good day of your teaching could be all the encouragement you need to remember why you are in the classroom. Learn more from the webinar Promote Yourself! Steps to Making a Video That Shows You as an Effective Teacher.
3. Share your inspiration.
Think about who inspires you and why they inspire you. Try to emulate how they motivate you and keep you inspired. Remember, smiles are contagious and so are inspirational attitudes.
Be the person on your campus to start a blog or social media feed as a place to share your Why. Each week you could continue to share the excitement of your classroom, with your Why and your wonders from each day. You could be the reason your colleague decides to stay, too. Just by sharing your story, you could be the encouragement necessary to prevent a valued friend in the classroom from leaving the teaching profession. Here are a couple free blogging resources:
4. Create your own reset button.
Start fresh every day. Let each day be a new day with new challenges, new goals, and a new outlook! Staying renewed and refreshed helps keep your classroom environment welcoming. Students feel safe and trust that each new day offers another chance to do their best, even if the day before was a little tough. It gives the teacher and the student the opportunity to remember the reasons why each day counts. Every day is important!
By Melanie Fields and Laura Isbell
Dr. Fields is an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Texas A&M–Commerce. She has worked in both undergraduate and graduate teacher preparation. She primarily works with secondary STEM preservice teachers to use pedagogical content knowledge, especially using inquiry-based instruction. Her research areas are in transfer of preparation to practice, teacher efficacy and beliefs, and STEM instructional practices.
Dr. Isbell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Texas A&M–Commerce. She has worked in both undergraduate and graduate areas to continuously improve course consistency, curriculum development, and current best teaching practices. Her research areas include teacher preparation, teacher quality, and educational reform in marginalized populations.
Amos, J. (2014). On the path way to equity: Teacher attrition costs United States up to $2.2 billion annually, says new alliance report. Alliance for Excellent Education Issue Brief Online Journal, 14(14), 2-4. Retrieved from http://all4ed.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Volume14No14.pdf
Ingersoll, R. M., & Merrill, L. (2010). Who’s teaching our children. Educational Leadership, 67(8), 14-20.doi:10.2307/23014368.