By third quarter, the pencils are wearing down, the pens are running out of ink, the students are getting antsy for spring break, and the teachers are starting to burn out. It is the perfect time to remember why we do the job we do! Here are some tips to fall back in love with teaching this Valentine's Day!
1. Remember what teachers make. Most teachers have seen this viral video or read some version of it, but I think that February is an ideal time to hear it again!
2. Have patience. Remember that teaching is not usually a game of instant gratification. We must trust that we are helping students build skills and we are making a major difference in their lives. Sometimes they don't realize our impact for many years to come. To maintain patience in difficult times, I keep a file of student notes and emails from over the years, which sometimes come months or years after graduation. When students tell me that my work impacted their lives, I cherish those documents and pull them out when I need a little pick me up.
3. Take some risks. Have you always wanted to try socratic seminar, debate, literature circles, flipping the classroom, new technologies, or any other classroom strategy? Just do it. Switch things up and have fun!
4. Send positivity. After progress reports, parent conferences, and intervention sessions, parents and students have heard your suggestions for improvement. This month, try to send a few notes or emails to let parents or students know that you have noticed their hard work or success. Your LMS may allow you to make email templates to easily send emails to praise a great test score or note improvements. It will feel great for all parties involved!
5. Do some spring cleaning. Okay, so technically it is still winter, but it is considered the spring semester so spend a little time cleaning, organizing, or creating a new bulletin board. Of course, pinterest is a great place for inspiration. I also love this blog post from Sam and Scout and of course my blog post about some American lit inspired decor.
6. Treat yourself. Maybe it is time for that pretty new iPad case you have had your eye on. Maybe a new outfit is in order (check out this tumblr for ideas on great teacher fashion!). Whether you need a good massage or a little retail therapy, you've made it through the 20+ weeks of teaching this year, you deserve it!
7. Keep learning. Sign up for a workshop, read some blogs, get around to opening that teacher book that has been sitting on your desk for months! Learning a new teacher trick or finding new ways to think about your classroom philosophy will help productively push you past the third quarter blues!
What do you do to fall back in love with teaching? We'd love to hear from you in the comment section below!