Well, it’s bound to happen. With all great loves there is a time when the initial honeymoon phase ends, and reality sets in. That excited fluttery feeling somehow disappears, and no matter how you try, it’s just not going to come back. So, what now? The following is a list of steps that I believe can help all new teachers recover and regain their strength for what should be a long and healthy relationship with their career as a teacher.
1. Cry— Yes, the first step is to cry. Cry and grieve for the loss of the honeymoon phase. It’s an ending, and it’s healthy to recognize it as such. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up, and try endlessly to bring the honeymoon back. Just grieve and get it out.
2. Pump Up the Music— Once the grieving is over. It’s time to pep back up. Listen to music that makes you happy. Dance around the room. Get silly and make a fool of yourself. Who cares? Just let it all go!
3. Remember the Main Objective— Remember that you are there to teach. That’s it. As a dreamer–which I am–my mind can drift everywhere. I want to help and make a difference in so many ways it can almost drive me crazy. I like looking at the big picture, but sometimes the picture gets too big. I must work to remember the main objective– my classroom, my students and their learning. Keep it focused!
4. Bring Something New to Your Teaching— Do something different. Maybe try a new technology. See how you can create a buzz around your classroom. Keep the students guessing. Of course, we can’t do this all the time. But, innovation is fun. Experiment.
5. Create Your Own Dangling Carrot– Yes, there are not too many extrinsic motivators in the field of teaching. You are not going to walk in to work one morning and your boss exclaims, “I’ll give you a $5,000 bonus if you produce a great result from this project.” However, applying for grants can provide a dangling carrot of sorts. Although difficult, it’s motivating if I know that I can use what I’m doing in the classroom to apply for grants or other funding that may enhance my students’ experiences. It provides a bit of an extrinsic motivator when most all teaching is based on intrinsic motivation.
6. Pray– Prayer is always needed. Take a deep breathe and know that God is in control. Meditate on the serenity prayer. Pray for your teaching, your classroom, and your students. Pray for patience and wisdom. Pray for acceptance. Pray for understanding. Pray. Pray. Pray.