7 Ways To Stay Motivated

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John Dabell

I trained as a primary school teacher 25 years ago, starting my career in London and then I taught in a range of schools in the Midlands. In between teaching jobs, I worked as an Ofsted inspector (no hate mail please!), national in-service provider, project...
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How can we keep motivated?

To stay happy in our jobs we all need motivation and lots of it. Last week, one of our most popular blogs, 10 Ways to Demotivate Teachers detailed some of the ways that schools manage to demotivate their teachers with tedious meetings and last minute time-table changes.

On top of these factors, it’s inevitable that sometimes in our jobs we will feel overwhelmed, bogged down with a sense that ‘we’re stuck in a rut’ which signals that our motivation needs a reboot. Take a look at the following tips that could help you.

1. Let It Go

Whatever is on your mind, don’t let it take root and grip you. If things haven’t worked out, a lesson has gone badly or a conversation has been difficult, reflect but don’t ruminate. Chewing on something over and over again is energy-sapping and will exhaust you. If you have been wronged by a colleague or abused by a student, manage the situation but learn to let it go and forgive.

2. Swerve The Gossip

It’s good to talk but not to gossip. You might want to get things off your chest and you should but there is always a professional way of doing it. Walls have ears and downloading what you think can be counterproductive if raw emotion has its foot on the accelerator pedal. Gossip kills trust and relationships but healthy professional connections and a good chinwag are the way to stay motivated.

3. Terminate Self-Pity

A frequent response to stress is self-pity. There’s nothing wrong with feeling sorry for yourself now and again, but too much can lead to anger, bitterness and depression. If you feel exhausted and overwhelmed then it can be tempting to compare yourself to others and feel like you have a raw deal. Self-pity is a trap to avoid.

4. Empathise

You are not alone. Learn to connect with others and share an experience with your colleagues so they are supported. Without empathy, a school is an empty place and reaching out to others can fuel our own motivation because we feel useful. Tapping into our own emotions and experiences of dealing with a difficult pupil or situation will always help someone else cope better.

5. Feel Grateful

Being happy in your work is essential and purely adopting a grateful mindset makes all the difference and avoids toxic thinking that poisons your thoughts. Be happy, cheerful and actively practice gratitude to get more out of what you do.

6. Remember Who You Are

You will hear teachers describe themselves as “I’m just a teacher”. This sounds like you are embarrassed or you feel like a second-class citizen and there are better jobs than this. Being a teacher is a first-class job and so say it with pride – “I am a teacher.”

7. Remind yourself

Teaching is the best job in the world – take a look at the 156 reasons why we think so. Working with children is the most fulfilling job ever, so remind yourself that you touch their vulnerable lives every day and you enjoy a very special connection with some of the most remarkable human beings on our planet. Some people would love a job as rewarding as ours.

Don’t quit, do it!

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