Curing the Winter Blues

I’m not ready to throw in the towel on my previous post, What Traits Must a Teacher Have? If you haven’t left a comment with your ideas, please click on the link and leave your input. In a few more days, I’m going to round up everyone’s ideas and report on what we’ve got.

Meanwhile, as the school year rolls on, some of us need to be refreshed. How do you keep the flame of your passion for teaching burning bright? Inspired by the folks at the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkley, here are some suggestions…

Why did you become a teacher? Remind yourself of all the reasons why you chose this profession. Simply list the “pros” and forget about the “cons.”

Do you feel that you chose to be a teacher to make a difference in the lives of children? Remind yourself that you’re doing this because “the work naturally feels deeply meaningful…it connects [you] to [your] personal values.” Not many people are able to do work that is so intimately entwined with their deepest-held beliefs.

Recall those moments when teaching made you feel ALIVE—as if you were ‘running on all cylinders.’Meaning can be derived from those times when you are personally immersed and intrinsically motivated by your work. Most likely, this happened because you were expressing your “authentic self”—the matching of your actions to your perception of your true self.” This could be a time when you were doing a major project or when you had a breakthrough with a single student.

Give thanks for your colleagues. Good and perhaps not-so-good, your colleagues are rowing the same boat as you, and most likely in the same direction with the same destination in mind. Don’t become isolated in your job. Cultivate the friendship of other teachers.

Finally, embrace these words from William James: Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.

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