When You Feel Alone as a Teacher (and Stuck)
Do you ever feel like you’re alone as a teacher? Like you’re facing all these challenges and there’s just no one there to help you figure it all out?
Or maybe you do have people around you, but for one reason or the other, you’re just not connecting with them. You’re just not getting the support you need, and you sometimes feel like you’re the only one struggling with whatever you’re facing.
At this point, you have a choice. You can tough it out alone, trying to somehow figure it out on your own. Or, you can determine to find the help & support you need.
Because you really do need support. We just weren’t meant to do this alone.
When you’re confused, discouraged, or just don’t know what to do about a particular issue, discussing the issue with a group of trusted teachers can be just what you need. Often someone else can quickly pinpoint a problem or suggest that elusive solution.
You see, we were created to thrive on community and to learn better together.
And one of the best ways teachers can learn, grow, and stay encouraged is by intentionally connecting with other passionate educators. Even if it takes a little extra work to find them.
What if Your Colleagues Are….. Um….. Not the Best?
When I was teaching, I taught at an amazing Christian school. Seriously, the staff and faculty there were so awesome.
A few minutes in the teachers’ lounge would typically leave me encouraged and inspired, and I had a host of wonderful mentors I could go to for advice.
Unfortunately, that’s just not the case for many of you.
So does that mean you’re doomed to wander the teaching world alone for all eternity?
Absolutely not. It just means you need to get intentional about finding the right people to connect with.
Why You Need a Mastermind
The concept of a Mastermind group is huge in the online business world right now. The idea is that you connect with a small group of other entrepreneurs or bloggers to ask questions, share advice, and help each other grow.
And having been part of an incredible mastermind group for a couple years now, I can tell you it is a total game-changer. Having trusted colleagues you can ask for advice when you’re stuck or seek encouragement from when you’re frustrated is absolutely amazing. And if you can trust them to tell you what you need to hear (not just what you want to hear), that is beyond invaluable.
And, best of all, its a reciprocal relationship. I’m not just taking, taking, asking, asking. I’m also giving advice, sharing what I’ve learned, and encouraging the other members of my group. It’s a total win-win, and we all walk away feeling encouraged, helped, and beyond grateful for the relationship.
If you’ve been feeling alone, this is exactly the type of intentional collaboration that you need to seek out.
You need to find like-minded teachers and form your own mastermind group (or I supposed you could call it a PLC). There’s about a million ways this could look, but the key is that you’re assembling a
group of teachers with the goal of helping each other learn and grow.
You can set it up however you’d like, but to make this post super practical, I’m going to go ahead & give you some step-by-step ideas of how you could structure such a group – just to get you thinking in the right direction.
How to Create an Awesome Teaching Mastermind / PLC:
Step 1: Find the right people.
- A small group of 3 – 5 teachers is awesome because it’s small enough that you can really get to know everyone and their situation.
- Find people who are in somewhat similar situations but are not exactly the same as you. When you’re putting together your group, you don’t want to go too broad. A preschool teacher at an exclusive Christian school in the rich suburbs and a high school English teacher at a Title 1 school in the inner city will have little in common and might struggle to relate to each other.
But you also don’t necessarily want to everyone to be in the exact same situation either because a variety of viewpoints will lend some much-needed perspective to your discussions.
Likewise, the other teachers don’t have to share all of your views, but your views shouldn’t be so incompatible as to make collaboration and discussion stressful or counter-productive.
- You can find people in all sorts of places. Are there any teachers at your school whom you admire or respect? How about teachers you know through friends, family, or your church?
Another great place to find great teachers is online. There are some awesome teaching Facebook groups, including Teach 4 the Heart’s Christian Teachers’ Lounge.
Or, you can join a program like Teach Uplifted that has this type of small-group masterminding built into it. That way, you don’t even have to worry about finding people or putting yourself out there (which can be the scary part if you’re a bit introverted like me).
Step 2: Pick the right format.
Many mastermind groups have a specific meet-up time, whether in person or online. If you can make that work, then by all means, go for it.
But, honestly, you don’t have to add another meeting to your already jam-packed schedule to make this work.
Consider these two alternatives:
- Private Facebook group: Create a private Facebook group just for your small mastermind group. You can then share thoughts, questions, & encouragement with each other whenever you have a couple minutes free.
- Voxer: Voxer is seriously amazing. I seriously think I love it just slightly less than I love my own children. (Not really….but kind of.) Basically, Voxer is a free smart phone app that allows you to send voice messages. Now that may not sound so spectacular, but let me explain the benefits…
- You can say sooo much more than you can type: When you’re speaking instead of typing, you can say much more in much less time. As a result, your conversations can be much more in-depth without your feeling like you’re typing your little fingers off.
- Your tone of voice comes across much better via voice than text. We all know how easy it is to misunderstand an email or text message. Voice messages really help reduce those misunderstandings.
- You get to have a conversation without having to sync schedules or worry about getting stuck on the phone. You feel like you’re talking to each other (you are), but you have the convenience of listening & responding to messages whenever you have a few minutes free. So much easier than trying to plan an official meeting time, which leaves you feeling a bit trapped. (Just me? Fair enough…)
It’s like having a meeting without the meeting.
- It’s easy! And maybe best of all, it’s super easy to use. Once you sign up (for free) and find each other, all you have to do is push a button to talk & press play to listen.
How do you find Voxer? Just search for it in the app store or check it out here.
Step 3: Have the right mindset.
If you want your group to be successful, it can’t be all about you.
Instead, be more focused on helping everyone else than on getting help yourself.
Because when everyone’s focused on adding value, you’ll find lots of value yourself.
Step 4 (Optional): Choose the right resource.
You can certainly keep things super informal – just discussing problems and solutions as they arise.
But if you really want to kick the learning into high gear, consider picking a book or a course to work through & discuss together.
If a Christian teacher in need of encouragement, I highly recommend joining us for Teach Uplifted, which starts next week. It even includes ready-made mastermind groups 🙂
Making it Happen
By now you’re hopefully beginning to see the value of creating a mastermind group and are thinking about how you could make it happen.
But here’s the thing – too many of you will read this article, think “That’s a great idea!” and then never act on it.
As a result, you’ll end up just as alone and frustrated as you are right now.
I don’t want that to happen to you. So you can’t just file this idea away for later. If you want this to happen, you’ve gotta’ act right now.
You’re got a couple choices.
- Reach out right now to some teachers you know. Share this article with them and ask if they’d like to form a group. If you can’t think of anyone you want to mastermind with, reach out in our Facebook group or any other online groups you’re part of.
- Join us in Teach Uplifted & let me connect you with other great Christian teachers.
This 6-week program is all about helping you renew your passion for teaching by finding joy & peace in Christ. And one of the best features is that we’ll connect you with other great teachers – and even split you up into your own small mastermind groups. You’ll get everything I just described to you – without having to set it up yourself.
And that’s just one part of Teach Uplifted. You’ll also discover how to renew your passion and energy, enjoy teaching, despite the challenges, and make a bigger difference in your school and classroom.
Click here to find out more about Teach Uplifted.
Do you have a group of teachers that you learn with? We’d love to hear your experience.