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How Teachers Can Stay Motivated During Difficult Times

How Teachers Can Stay Motivated During Difficult Times

It’s often difficult to do your best work and stay motivated with so many things pulling at you every day. However, you can make it through challenging times and inspire your class to love learning!

The first thing to do during difficult times is to stay focused on why you became a teacher in the first place. When it’s hard to function, think of one thing: your students. Sometimes they may even be the problem. What that tells you, though, is how very badly they need you. Remember that on your worst day on the job, you are still some child’s best hope. Focus on your students.

Another strategy to stay motivated during challenging periods in your life is to stop and take a step back. Think back over another tough time you went through and how you were able to persevere. In other words, keep in mind the old saying that trouble don’t last always.

As you think back to a prior time, remember and think about a success you were able to achieve against the odds. During tough times, take a step back and reflect on the good you have already done. Let it inspire you to continue doing good even if things feel difficult right now.

Another strategy you can try when life feels overwhelming is to get some exercise. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, just to get out and walk even if it’s just around the building or inside the building. A little exercise every day seems to help keep negative thoughts away. Even a short daily walk during tough times can change your whole outlook.

A final method for dealing with tough times is to have outside interests. In other words, don’t forget that you need to have balance in your life. When one area gets out of balance, it can throw your whole outlook off. Use your hobbies such as biking, gardening, art, reading a good book, or just enjoying chocolate to help bring you back to where you need to be. During difficult times stay balanced!

As a teacher, putting your best foot forward every day can be a challenge in itself. When you’re dealing with other things in your life, achieving and sustaining a balance through self care and reflection can help you be your best not just for you, but for your students as well. You got this!

Motivating Unmotivated Students: Part One

Motivating Unmotivated Students: Part One

One of the most difficult things to do as a teacher is motivating students who seem unmotivated.

I don’t believe there’s any such thing as an unmotivated student. My belief is that every student who seems unmotivated is just waiting for their fire to be lit. Have you ever noticed that a student who seems unmotivated in one teacher’s classroom can be involved and engaged in another teacher’s classroom?

I want to give you one major idea to build around in your inspiring classroom lessons: excitement. When creating your lesson plans, include activities that generate some excitement. Music is a great tool to get students excited. It can be a song that you like that incorporates the theme of the day. Play the song and let the students sing along with it, then ask students if they know any other songs that relate to the theme. You can even give students extra credit if they write their own song that incorporates the points of the lesson.

Another way to get students excited is to get them talking about themselves. Ask students to verbally explain, write a paragraph, or even create a song or rap about how they may be familiar with the topic you’re teaching. In science when I talked about waves and oceans, I often had my students write two or three paragraphs about an experience they had interacting with waves or with any body of water. Then I would show them how they were impacted by waves and by the way oceans, lakes, or streams operate. This was a great segue to the discussion of the day.

There are other ways to build excitement into your lessons, such as using whiteboards with short impactful video clips that make your point about the day’s lesson in a dramatic and exciting form. Generate a lively discussion following the video by asking a series of probing, challenging questions. This can be enhanced even more when you put the students in groups of two or three to let them answer the questions together and then share with the class.

Finally, understand that motivating students is a mindset. If you believe you can motivate them, you will. As much as humanly possible, be motivated and excited when teaching. Be effusive with your praise when students have good answers. I’m not talking about overdoing it but just do it in a natural, genuine way. Motivating students is a state of mind. Be that which you expect of others. You can do this!