How To Reignite Your Love Of Teaching

Smart Classroom Management: How To Reignite Your Love Of TeachingIt’s official.

A culture of pressure and stress has infected the teaching profession.

It’s palpable in school after school and district after district.

From Boston to Lisbon. Flat River to Bath. Spokane to Montreal.

It’s fueled by a do-more and give-more mentality that has made the job increasingly more difficult.

And a lot less fun.

It’s not unusual to feel as if you’re being dragged down into negativity, to find yourself venting and complaining and hoping against hope that it improves.

Sadly, conditions are unlikely to change anytime soon.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t fight back. It doesn’t mean that you can’t adapt and outwit and find a little slice of heaven within the four walls of your classroom.

It doesn’t mean you can’t reignite your love of teaching. Or discover it for the very first time.

Here’s how:

1. Concern yourself with what you can control.

Much of the stress teachers experience is due to things beyond their control. If it’s something you must do, like a mandate from administration, then it’s self-sabotage to get worked up about it—or even give it a second thought.

Refuse to let the new math program, class-size limit, or lunch procedure get under your skin, and resist the urge to moan and complain about it.

It will only heighten its importance in your life.

It’s best to accept what is out of your control quickly and then move on. This is resilience. It’s an internal toughness that allows you to enjoy your job despite the changes you may disagree with.

2. Know that there is a lot you can control.

Teachers who struggle the most with stress and dissatisfaction assume that very little is within their control. They complain about long hours, unruly students, shoddy work habits, low motivation, and on and on.

But the truth is, you’re in control of these and every other facet of teaching that has the greatest impact on your happiness and job satisfaction.

It may take learning a new set of skills. It may take making radical changes in the way you do things. But it’s doable for anyone, no matter how bad things have gotten.

3. Embrace the one thing that will always make teaching great.

When you focus on enjoying your students, when you savor the relationships, the connections, and the act of teaching them, all that other stuff you’re preoccupied with will fade away.

Its importance shrinks down to a pea and becomes not such a big deal after all.

You’re able to sit in staff meetings and listen to yet another new policy or requirement without becoming emotionally invested.

You’ll accept it and then shove it aside—so you can get back to what really matters, back to why you became a teacher in the first place.

Love It Anyway

I hear from frustrated teachers every day who believe that they’re boxed in and have no options.

But in every case, they’re upset over things that are either completely under their control or needn’t have any affect on enjoying their job.

The power is within you.

It may not be as easy being a teacher as it once was, even five years ago. But with the right attitude and classroom management approach, and a healthy dose of shrewdness, it can be every bit as fun and rewarding.

So while your colleagues are up in arms over the latest heaping of frustration slopped onto their plate, you can take it in stride.

Because you’ll be able to adapt, adjust, and accept in a way that isn’t a greater burden on you.

You’ll be able to focus on what matters.

And love your job anyway.

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18 Responses to How To Reignite Your Love Of Teaching

  1. Chris June 10, 2017 at 9:48 am #

    And, Michael, it’s thanks to your excellent articles here that many of us are able to maintain that love of teaching. Reading this information on this site has been the best training I have ever received. You not only share techniques, but you also share the reasoning behind them, which to me is the most valuable part. This results in inner confidence, which students instantly perceive.

    One example: I’ve never forgotten the article in which you said that, rather than getting upset by misbehavior, we should just impersonally and fairly let our classroom management plan do the work for us. I used to get frustrated that students didn’t seem to care about their behavior, but no more. Now I calmly give my “You Have a Choice” speech. I say that what happens to them is the choice of the students themselves; I never force them to comply, but there are always consequences for every choice. Then I illustrate exactly what the consequences are (two reminder warnings, then they begin to lose recess time and later, lunch time if necessary, in increments of 5 minutes per warning). I explain that I like all the students, but how I feel about them has nothing to do with my recording their behavior on the board. Their choices=their consequences. The result is that I remain calm, they feel safe with everything clearly laid out, and I often overhear myself described as “the nice teacher.” But also, for many of them, I can see from their thoughtful expressions that this is the first time anyone has explained such logic to them. What a great life lesson!

    Another standout article: you asked us not to mentally or verbally label students as ones who “always” misbehave, and even in our disciplining and praising to help them feel like just a regular member of the class. This was revolutionary for me, because you always hear about “those kids” from other teachers. I try to see them as they potentially may be and verbalize this to them, so that perhaps for the first time in a long time–maybe ever–they finally hear positive things about themselves. They’re often shocked. The result has been that so many of “those kids” that I’ve been warned about behave beautifully with me, once I counter their negative self-talk, show them I believe in them, and explain clearly what their behavior choices are. One boy who was known for throwing terrible tantrums had a turnaround in a couple of weeks that seemed nothing short of a miracle!

    I’ve worked both as specialist and a homeroom substitute, so your impact on me has spread to literally hundreds of children. Many thanks from this happier teacher and my happier students! I hope this site continues for years to come.

    • Michael Linsin June 10, 2017 at 2:57 pm #

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for sharing. I’m so glad the two articles you mentioned were helpful. I appreciate how well you get them, on a level that allows them to become not just something you try to do, but rather who you are as a teacher and leader. Way to go!

      Michael

      • Holly June 12, 2017 at 5:33 am #

        Which two articles is Chris referring to? I’d love to reread them. Could you post them for us? Thank you..

        • Michael Linsin June 12, 2017 at 10:16 am #

          Hi Holly,

          I’ve written about these topics in a number of different places, and from a variety of angles, so I’m not sure the exact articles he’s referring to. When you get a chance, please check out the archive (right sidebar) and try the Search function along the menu bar.

          Michael

    • Sarah Gardner June 11, 2017 at 10:00 am #

      Chris,

      I, too, have become a better teacher and substitute teacher because of this SCM site, I have seen students labelled as “bad behavior” change because of the consistency of classroom management. Everyone is treated, fairly when the plan is in place. Michael’s advice helps make a “safe” place for students in each classroom I help. I am looking forward to returning to school in August, and adding two more elementary schools and maybe a middle school to my list of preferred schools!

  2. Marlene Gay June 10, 2017 at 11:49 am #

    Your reference I assume was to Martina MacBride’s inspirational song “I Do It Anyway” which is a great song to bring to class, now at the end of the year. Thanks for your tips and encouragement throughout this past school year. Like you said here, we should focus on the successes, like those personal moments of great rapport with the students which make your day, despite the setbacks. I believe that there’s no job better than teaching, so despite a somewhat lack of appreciation from higher ups here and there, I do it anyway.

    • Michael Linsin June 10, 2017 at 2:50 pm #

      Hi Marlene,

      I’m not familiar with the song, but I’ll be sure to check it out. Thanks!

      Michael

    • Marlene Gay June 17, 2017 at 12:07 pm #

      Is it possible to buy your books in a bookstore or only on-line?
      Marlene

      • Michael Linsin June 17, 2017 at 2:06 pm #

        Hi Marlene,

        If you can’t find them on the shelf, then you can order them through virtually any bookstore.

        Michael

  3. Cherie Blessing June 10, 2017 at 12:08 pm #

    Thank you for this article. I do find a slice of heaven within the four walls of my classroom every day. Learning together with my delightful students is such a joy. You were able to articulate particularly clearly several thoughts that I want to pass along to colleagues and student teachers, especially about resilience lessening our stress. Very helpful!

    • Michael Linsin June 10, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

      You’re welcome, Cherie. I’m glad you like the article.

      Michael

  4. Florence June 11, 2017 at 7:17 am #

    Wow Michael, you have no idea of how timely this article appeared in my mailbox! I just had some trouble with my administration for stupid, useless, meaningless paperwork I have not done – because I was struggling with my first year ever in Kindergarten. I was so angry I was about to quit. Your article put things in perspective. Thank you! It is so easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless when your manager decides to underline your weaknesses and does not mention your strong points. I exceeded expectations in many regards this year, even though it was my first year in Kindergarten (and a wonderful one), and I got praise from my colleagues. Well, obviously this is just considered as ‘normal’, while the one thing I have not had time to do has been repeated and underlined many times in my ‘work report’. Yes, the teaching world is going crazy. I am pretty sure most parents would be angry if they knew their money (from taxes) is not used for the well-being and education of their children, but for mere, dry red tape work. I will re-read your article several times and try to remember that I am here for the kids, and for the kids only.

  5. Carol Edwards June 11, 2017 at 9:28 pm #

    Apples of gold in settings of silver. All of your articles help me navigate my work more than anything else I have ever read. Except the Bible. Thank you!

    • Michael Linsin June 12, 2017 at 10:13 am #

      It’s truly my great pleasure, Carol. I’m so glad to hear it.

      Michael

  6. Rebecca June 12, 2017 at 7:28 am #

    Hi Michael,

    I’m powering through your books, as well as the online course. I’m so excited to implement everything I’m learning in the Fall!

    I have a few questions, especially in regards to your high school management plan.

    1. I have students sometimes multiple times a day, for separate classes (ie. Language Arts, Art, Drama). Would each class have separate points (ie. 4 points for LA, 4 points for Art, 4 points for Drama)?

    2. What about students and/or parents that genuinely do not buy into school? I teach some children who don’t care if they fail or have their parents contacted, so my concern is that neither the consequence of lost points or contacting home will be be an incentive for positive behaviour.

    3. I have students who have ADHD and their parents do not medicate them. I feel bad holding this child to expectations that his body literally can’t abide by. Should I still hold that student to the same standard as the others in the class?

    4. When modelling how you want your routines to be followed at the beginning of the year, do your high school students ‘go with it’?

    Thank you in advance for your words of wisdom!

    • Michael Linsin June 12, 2017 at 10:30 am #

      Hi Rebecca,

      I’m happy to answer, but don’t have time to explain the reasoning behind my answers, which would take entire articles. It may take some digging, but I’ve written about these topics extensively.

      1. Yes.
      2. Do it anyway.
      3. Yes.
      4. No, high school students require far less modeling.

      Michael

      • Rebecca Reynolds June 14, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

        Thank you for your quick reply!

        Another question in regards to your High School class management approach. You discuss that there are two separate systems- warning the student (+ more if they continue misbehaving) and Points. From what I gather, the Points are only monitoring listening/following instruction and participation. So if a student breaks a class rule (such as a student swearing), but they are still listening/following instruction and participating, would the student keep their full points?

        • Michael Linsin June 14, 2017 at 4:09 pm #

          Yes.

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