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Lacking Motivation-Help!

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zxm123

Full Member
Dear fellow veteran teachers, I have just completed 10 years of teaching! Yay! I feel like it's a milestone in my life because I did it while raising two children, working at 5 different schools, three districts, and 5 different types of positions from 4th-7th to Sp.Ed. to Library coordinator. It's been a roller coaster for me. I started at 24 and I am now 38 and pregnant with my third child. I am happy about my family but every summer I struggle with going back.

After my first year of teaching I was so disillusioned with teaching. I had very little help and support. (Thank God for my husband!) I hate the politics and the pressure from the higher ups to make our students into learning robots. I get tired of parents who just drop their kids off and don't value their learning. I am tired of disciplining kids for things their parents should be teaching them. I am losing my joy in teaching. I am a very dedicated teacher and I realize how important my role is in society. But I don't feel respected nor appreciated by society for the hard work I put into it. For example, when teachers in my district asked for a raise they only offered 2% after 7 yrs. of cuts! I guess I just can't believe how little teachers are valued. Now the laws in our state are changing to remove teacher tenure! As if that would fix the deeper problems of society that affect our schools!

I have learned so much over the years and I know there is always more to learn. But every summer I wonder if there is anything else out there I could do for a living. Is it worth all the time, money, sweat and tears I put in, only to be disrespected each time. I wonder if any seasoned, dedicated teachers have ever felt that way. I care about kids and I am blessed to have work when so many are looking but I need motivation to keep going for the next 10 years. Right now, it's about the paycheck, the days off, and the benefits. Which was never my first reason for being a teacher. :(

I am sorry this is so long.
 
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teenytiny

Senior Member
Is it worth all the time, money, sweat and tears I put in, only to be disrespected each time. I wonder if any seasoned, dedicated teachers have ever felt that way.

Yep, I have felt that way at times, too. What helps me is focusing on the kids who are learning, the kids who are happy, the kids who try hard, the kids who make things fun, the kids who appreciate what I'm doing for them. They are there, in every class, even the hardest classes, they are there. Look for them, focus on them each day, fuss over them, make a big deal out of them. Focus on the parents who appreciate you. Focus on the colleagues who are supportive.

Make sure that you are taking the time to focus on yourself, too. I am a believer in the "it's a JOB" philosophy of teaching. I think it's important to do a good job in the classroom and I work hard, but I know that the only way to avoid burnout is to set limits and take care of myself, too. Some people seem to think that teachers should be martyrs, that they should sacrifice themselves. I think that only results in teachers who end up resenting the profession and it takes a toll on their teaching and their lives.

Take care of yourself and set limits on how much time you spend on the job because it's never ending unless you do. Pay attention to the moments of joy in your class.
 

basketball777

Senior Member
Ive also finished 10 yrs...And in 1 of the states wanting to rid of tenure. I had to switch type of school and district to rejuvenate and refresh my joy of teaching... It worked!! I went from Title 1 high poverty ELL dangerous area district to a district different in so many ways. I got a job at the most affluent award winning top school there....I learned so much and grew as an educator in just 1 yr! I do have plans to in the near future become a principal. I will go from just 60k to 130K. I was inspired by my young principal who was such a micromanager I now know how to be an administrator since she worked w me so closely believe it or not! Of course being a single mom and feeling burnt out at my former school helped me think up going into administration too.... I basically went from being miserable and using lots of sickleave and thinking its a job to enjoying and loving teaching again! I really did need the change in jobs.
 

Penguin82

Senior Member
Me too

My sister, a nurse, was surprise when I admitted that I was "excited for the paycheck." I haven't worked this last school year and things have been really tight. She said she understood. We are always expected to "do it for the kids" (in her case for the patients who are awful to her!)

I am with you. This will be my tenth year as well. Can't believe I made it. My first year I wanted to quit.

It's tough. It really is. I try to think back on the little things that keep me going. I keep my school pictures of the class each year and look at my kids and remember the good things. I try not to dwell on the bad things.

I don't have advice, just totally get where you are.
 

zxm123

Full Member
Thanks

I try to remember the good things too and I share about the amazing kids I have met over the years.

I am trying to get to a different district too. The one I am in is full of troubled children who I don't blame for their behavior. It is a result of their communities and their lifestyles. I think all kids are precious despite their bad days. But it wears out the best of us after so many years of it.

I think its just wonderful when you find the place that gives you the most satisfaction in your career.
 
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zxm123

Full Member
Set Limits

I agree that I have had to set limits on the amount of work I do and bring home. Otherwise, there is no end! I rarely work on weekends. I correct papers at home only if I feel it will be immediately beneficial to the kids the next day, like feedback on a test. I stay an hour after school most days to plan, make copies and grade. But I give myself some days a wk. to leave early.

One of my pleasures at work has been talking with coworkers some time in the day. We tell jokes and laugh and it is such a break from the intensity of work. This is usually at lunch or recess.

But I feel this year I want to train more. I want more ideas and mentoring from other teachers. My district has not trained us in Common Core enough and I am still expected to create lessons. It is difficult.
 

basketball777

Senior Member
To the OP I'm in the same state as you!
@penguin 60k is lower paying to me...I was making 75k And more each yr at my low income urban school....I think in my state it's expensive tho. I have a masters too! I gave up higher income for a better school and district. I did go through some hard times there this yr but made it through.... I get to use more creativity and technology at this school too. I stayed late most days last yr my first yr....... I hope to balance things better next yr. I don't correct much at home but I do lesson plan at home. I hope to cut down on correcting time next year! At my school you were expected to put school first.... So I need to work on the balance (we have hardly any prep time after school). My 10th yr of teaching at the new school I was strongly encouraged to work with a district mentor like person....I did enjoy the support, ideas, feedback and someone to talk to. I hope to continue w her next yr. usually ownly struggling teachers work w the consulting teacher, so I was an unusual case..... I actually had a lot of anxiety about being nonrenewed, so I put 120% effort/time this yr....
 
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austvictoria

Guest
30

30 years and still counting! Still learn something new everyday but I have just about had enough.
 
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