Sometimes I would reach a phase (and yes, it is just a phase that everyone goes through) where I feel as if I’m in a rut, or I’m tired, or I’m bored. I start to wonder why I am doing this or I feel as if I’m not making a difference. Sometimes the frustrations about the paperwork or the regulations can really make me feel bogged down. When I feel overwhelmed by deadlines or upcoming projects, I want to run away. This is the time that I reach into my bag of inspiration for some help. Here are some of the things that I do.
I will watch a movie about teaching. I loved the movie To Sir With Love or The Freedom Writers. It helps to remind me why I went into teaching and helps me remember that I want to make a difference. I also like the fact that these teachers do not give up even though they would be justified if they did. Are there any movies that inspire you?
I will read books about teaching. I love the Torey Haydn books. I love to read about the different situations she has to deal with and how she never gives up. I also start to think about what I would do if I had been in the same situation. What books about teaching inspire you?
I will go observe a good teacher. There are so many good teachers out there and they are a wonderful resource right at our fingertips. Even though I feel like I don’t have the time to do this, I will make the time to do this. If I didn’t, I would just sit at my desk and be unproductive anyway so what could this hurt? I might even ask my students which teachers they like and why. Then I will share these positive statements with that teacher and ask if I can observe him/her. Sometimes this helps to jump start me into action. I might notice a strategy that this teacher uses that is successful and I want to try it with my class. Do you know someone where you are that you would like to observe?
Read blogs by other educators to see what they are doing in their classrooms or their schools. Sometimes by entering a debate or a discussion, it helps to energize me. By reading their blogs, I feel a connection which makes me feel less isolated. Sometimes I feel so alone in my feelings and wonder if I’m the only one out here who cares or feels or worries. There are so many blogs out there by other educators who know exactly what I’m feeling.
Learn something new so that I can share it with my class. It doesn’t have to be anything big, just something fun or different. You could teach yourself, take a class, or find someone else to each you. One year I got a book and learned how to juggle. This was a lot of fun and my class was impressed. I found out another teacher crocheted and asked her to teach me, which she did and my students looked forward to seeing how much progress I made on my afghan. They loved the thought of me learning something new right before their eyes. It also gave me something to be excited about that took my mind off of my problems. This year I am learning to speak Mandarin Chinese. What would you like to learn and how could you go about learning it?
Original image: 'butterfly 9' http://www.flickr.com/photos/35188692@N00/83775147 by: Alan L