Janet Bianchini gives her tips on how to re-ignite your fire for teaching if your embers have started to cool.
To teach with passion is life-enhancing. Passion is the fuel we need to achieve satisfaction in every area of life. Passion instils “flow”, or a momentum, according to Scott Thornbury’s latest insightful blog post “F is for Flow”. But what do you do if you feel you have reached a dead end? You have passed your peak? You are on autopilot? Your creative juices have withered? You lack the energy to create lively stimulating lessons? You feel that more “tech-savvy” teachers have overtaken you? The list goes on… Worry no more. Help is at hand. I will reveal 10 sure-fire ways to regain the spark and instil some “flow” back into your teaching.
Surround yourself with passionate teachers in school and you will be re-energised by their enthusiasm and zest for life. A love for one’s job defies age.
2. Peer Observation
Request to observe a fellow teacher as part of your Continuing Professional Development and offer to be observed yourself. This could be just what you need to recharge your batteries and give you a renewed sense of purpose.
3. Sharing is Caring
Attend a local workshop or national / international conference and then implement a new idea(s) into your teaching repertoire immediately. The most important thing, however, is to trickle down to your colleagues. Do not keep your new knowledge just to yourself. Share your newly acquired knowledge freely. Be proud and feel happy that you are helping other teachers to learn new tips and techniques. This will do wonders for your self esteem, I can guarantee you.
4. Talk Shop
Invite a few of your fellow teachers to meet up in a local coffee bar / pub. Sharing ideas in a totally different environment from school can prove to be extremely beneficial. Learning is all about other people, not just you!
5. Teacher Recall
Think back to your favourite teacher ever. What made that teacher so memorable? Make a pact with yourself to incorporate the positive characteristics of this particular teacher into your next lesson.
Start your own blog as soon as possible if you do not have one already. It will change your life. Period. Publishing your thoughts will empower you and spur you on to achieve more in your professional life. Blogger.com is a very easy platform and is the one I use with a fair modicum of success. Sue Waters has great tips on how to get you started blogging. Posterous is another platform which is very quick and easy to set up and if you don’t feel comfortable sharing with the whole world, then you can keep it all private. The act of writing your feelings down is very therapeutic and stimulating. It could turn your life around.
7. TED Talks
Be inspired by great educators who all have one thing in common – passion for their field of expertise. Make sure you watch Sir Ken Robinson’s “Bring on the Learning Revolution”. Observe the masters and learn from them.
Do something different from the norm. Request to co-teach a class with another member of staff. Observe how you deal with this new situation and learn from the mutual feedback.
Volunteer to mentor a new teacher. The act of mentoring is a way of giving something back to your profession, and it is a very fulfilling activity. I enjoyed mentoring immensely and it gave me a fresh outlook on teaching. If this is not an option in your school, then mentor someone online in some way. My great mentor is Karenne Sylvester from Kalinago English. She has helped me enormously on my blogging journey. I try to do the same for fellow bloggers. It gives me huge satisfaction. Try it.
10. Develop your Personal Learning Network
Connect with other passionate educators online and learn from them. Since I developed my Personal Learning Network last year, my life has been enriched immeasurably. For this, I will be eternally grateful to the members of my PLN for fuelling the catalyst for staying motivated and interested in my job. The photo above was selected to be a part of Shelly Terrell’s marvellous “Why do we connect?” video.
If enthusiasm for your job has waned, unfortunately, nobody but you can reinstall it. You are your own destiny. You alone can make change happen. Follow some of the tips above and just see how the energy will begin to flow. Once you are in the flow, I am sure you will not look back.
What tips can you share to help teachers who are experiencing a period of low energy or enthusiasm for their job? I would love to have your feedback!