5 Tips for Tough Days: Motivation for Teachers

Finding Motivation During the Struggle

We’ve all had days when the clock slows, the minutes tick by like hours, and we just want to curl up in a ball and hide. It may be easy to fly under the radar as an office employee or retail worker, but what can you do if you are a teacher? Teachers are front and center in their classrooms, and children are unforgiving in their need for attention–to say the least. Whether you are feeling overwhelmed or are working your way through emotions linked to a personal experience, it sometimes helps to have a few tricks for motivation up your sleeve.

5 Motivational Tips for Teachers

  1. Make a list of all of the reasons that you chose to be a teacher. Make copies and keep one in your purse, one in your desk, anywhere you can easily access it for a reminder when you are feeling discouraged. For example: Helping children, encouraging growth, making a difference, love of kids, being a hero, enriching children’s lives, rehabilitation through love and positive relationships, etc.
  2. Ask for help. Get the help you need, from the right person or people, by having them preset and prepared. Planning ahead and asking friends to be there for you if you ever need a mental boost is something that we all need, no matter how strong we think we are. For example: Have a friend on speed dial who can meet you for lunch, have a teacher/colleague who you can lean on for support throughout your day, have a family member on speed dial for when you need to be reminded to breathe. 
  3. Predetermine and set in place a plan for if you have a set-back. If something goes wrong, it helps to have a few alternatives up your sleeve, no matter where or when it happens. Knowing you have something to fall back on is helpful when what you are doing is just not working. For example: Have a folder with game ideas, lessons to implement, or ways to change the energy in your classroom, for when what you had planned is not working. Prepare a box or bag with everything you need to have a sudden change of plans in the classroom.
  4. Visualize your perfect day. Set aside time in the morning, on your break, or after school, to visualize things going exactly as planned, or as well as you wanted them to. Reprogram the brain over time, through positive visualization, to anticipate things going smoothly and feeling joyful with your day. This will help to take a bite out of a rough few moments and help you to return to feeling good in the classroom faster. For example: Take 3 minutes to mentally move through your day with ease and peace, all of your students are quietly writing, your lunch is delicious, your car runs smoothly, your gas tank is full, etc.
  5. Remember your successes when you are feeling defeated. Type up a note to yourself and keep a running list of times that things went well or when you felt successful. For example: Today we had zero trips to the principal. On this day, I implemented a lesson plan that my students loved. Today I woke up early and meditated, went for a walk and got to my class feeling rejuvenated. 

Keep Your Head Up: You Are Not Alone

One of the worst feelings a person can have is the feeling of being all alone, with no one there to understand what you are going through. Luckily, you are not alone. There are thousands of teachers just like you across the world who have hard days. Teachers who have setbacks, or problem students, or students who they know need extra help but who don’t have the resources to get it, these teachers need the support of fellow teachers. Teachers like you need to have a network of resources, like I Love Teachers, to fall back on when the voice in your head gets too loud. Thankfully, we hear you, we support you, and we are doing our best to provide the tips, tools, and resources that you need when self-motivation is waning. 

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