20+ Ideas to Lift Your Spirits When You’re Frustrated as a Teacher
Teaching can be an overwhelming profession and even the best teachers get discouraged and burnt-out sometimes. It can be helpful to hear what other real-life teachers do when they feel discouraged. We have compiled 20+ ideas from them, so you're sure to find something that would help your situation.
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Trying to get these students to learn feels like pulling teeth! Why do I seem to care more about their grades than they do? If they’re not interested in learning, why am I even here? They just want to talk, talk, talk to their friends while I’m trying to teach. It’s so frustrating and makes me want to quit.
What do you do when you feel discouraged as a teacher?
This issue has been coming up a lot in our Facebook group. (If you’re not in there, you should join here) We have some great resources for this, like our Renew your Joy challenge or our Teach Uplifted course. But it’s also helpful to talk to a large group of teachers and get their first-hand advice.
Luckily, we have a very large group of teachers in our Facebook group from various classroom backgrounds who are kind and gracious enough to share their advice. Here’s how they answered the question:
- For me, it’s being out in nature, being connected with my church group, and just having fun watching funny movies. -Laurie M.
- Pray in the morning when I get up, pray when I get to school, pray over desks, stopping to take extra time over those who need it. Pray when my back is turned to the class. Pray when I’m alone, and the kids are at lunch. -Karley D.
- I do what I love with people who appreciate me. And it has nothing to do with work. -Susanna U.
- I make an effort to focus on my "good" students, the ones who do homework and participate in class. It usually gets my mind back to my "why". -Jennifer M.
- I have a “What stuck with you today?” bulletin board. Every once in a while I will have students write on a sticky note what “stuck with them”. They can choose to write their name or make it anonymous. Sometimes at the end of a lesson, unit, quarter. Students are brutally honest and it’s so refreshing. The things you think they don’t get... they totally get. I keep these sticky notes in a drawer and reread them when needed. -Tina W.
- I think to myself, “What do I enjoy most about this job?” (For me, I LOVE reading my favorite children's books to little ones and making them laugh or cry or be amazed by a story.) Then I plan a morning doing that because I need to remember why I love teaching and celebrate by doing what I do best as a teacher! -Dawn H.
- Get in the Word. Listen to calming Christian music in my dimly lit living room with my calm scented candles burning. Listen to the Teach 4 the Heart podcast. -Rebecca R.
- I go to dinner with a good friend! I also take an entire Saturday for me to do what I want- no school anything. I pray and listen to Christian music!! I go get a massage and pick up my favorite “bad” food and go home to watch Hallmark or a favorite video. -Dawn E.
- I love collecting quotes, especially inspirational quotes on education. -Patrick H. (You can sign up for daily education quotes here.)
- Try to think about the good things at the end of the day. It is so easy to focus on what we do wrong, what mistakes were made, negative comments, etc. At the end of each day, take a few moments to think about positive things that happened. For example, a kiddo finally making a connection, a nice note from a parent, etc. -Lucy K.
- I keep a sticky note on my desk every day to write down happy things that happen. I can look back at the end of the day or week and remember it wasn’t all bad or stressful.
- I’ve always had a couple Scriptures taped to my desk or computer that I change depending on how school is going and what God is teaching me. -Kimberly J.
- Pray! Sing uplifting worship songs and have my kids sing, too. Read the Word - out loud both to myself and to my classes. I find when I surround myself with Jesus, He gives me His perspective. -Kelly A.
- I pray for God’s heart to replace my heart, and remember that He has called me to be a teacher to this group of children at this time in their lives. -Ed M.
- Take time for you... I can't be a good teacher when I am not taken care of. It also helps to have friends and do fun things... You have to have balance. -Robin F.
- I do something nice for myself. I take time out to do things that have nothing to do with work. I listen to encouraging music and remind myself that I am not stuck. -Taye T.
- If it's an ongoing burn-out feeling, I evaluate what I would rather be doing. I research if it's actually feasible to be doing something different, and see if there's something within my current job that I could just be doing differently in order to help. -Deanna M.
- Best thing I have done is not do any school or housework on Sundays. That is my day to recharge. Then I am ready emotionally for the week. -Reba C.
- Any nice letters and pictures and cards students and parents give me I three hole punch and keep in a nearby binder. -Desirae T.
- This year, I've made a goal to set aside an hour of "me" time each day - whether its walking, reading, praying, bubble baths - whatever sounds relaxing. -Jennifer C.
- When my to-do list becomes a burden, I write each individual task on a sticky note. Sort them either by priority or by which part of my life they belong to, like home, work, church, kids, hubby, etc. Then I either choose the most dreaded or difficult… or start easy or quick. After it is done, I like ripping up the note and throwing it away… Sometimes I give myself a time goal so I don't dawdle. I like beating my own estimated completion times. Maybe it's just me, but it is motivating to feel the accomplishments big and small. -Sharla R.
- Definitely pray! Step back and try to be analytical - think of the thing that you can affect (your classroom) and tackle one thing at a time... Try to find light and joy in every day and remember that you only have them for 180 days. -Lucy N.
- Get into the Word of God everyday. -Dana J.
There are so many different ideas here. Hopefully a few of them resonated with you. Now, it’s your turn. Please tell us in the comments what you do when you feel discouragement and burn-out creeping in and don’t forget to share this article with a teacher who might need it.
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