This time last year, I didn’t know how I could go a year teaching in the midst of a pandemic. It was risky, anxiety-inducing, and felt next to impossible. While it was still some of those things, I made it: rearranging supplies, dozens of face masks, sanitizing like a crazy person, and a lot of Zoom calls later. It was a lot, and if I didn’t have my WHY at the ready, I’m not sure how I would have kept a positive mindset.
You made it too. While the changes and school year will likely look a lot different next year, there will still be challenges. Teaching has always been a stressful career choice, after all. But it’s IMPORTANT, fulfilling, and fun too.
So why do teachers do it? I talked to 25 teachers, and here’s what I learned.
In every answer, there was some version of the feeling you get when students have that “aha” moment, or when you make them feel safe. Keeping top-of-mind the sense of purpose that you feel when you have those moments with your students can be invigorating, when some days are anything but.
- “I want to be their safe place if they don’t have one at home.”
- “I want my kids to realize they can change the world.”
- “I want every student to feel seen and to know that someone is there for them.”
What do you want your legacy to be as a teacher? Considering the impact they were making made these teachers want to continue to want to do this work, despite the challenges.
- “I get to have a positive impact on their early development and help shape who they will become as students but more importantly who they will be in the world.
- “I want to inspire a love of learning and curiosity in all things!”
- “I need my days to be meaningful and productive – if we don’t have teachers, we don’t have anyone! No doctors, lawyers, businessmen, accountants, etc. and I love that my job enables everyone else to contribute to the world as well.”
If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that CONNECTION and the relationships that we cultivate with others are SO important. For many teachers, that is their WHY.
- “I love the relationships I get to forge with my students and working collaboratively with my colleagues.”
- “I get to be an integral part of helping educate little members of our community. It’s helped me feel connected to this place as my home.”
- “My students are the coolest human beings ever, and I feel lucky and like I’ve grown as a person from knowing them and being part of their education.”
While there may be drawbacks, it’s okay to recognize the perks as well.
- “Summers off allow me to travel”
- “I love that I have the same schedule as my kids. It allows me to be involved in their education and have the same times off as them throughout the year.”
- “I need a job I can move easily with because of my husband’s job, and I feel like there is teaching opportunity everywhere.”
No WHY is wrong. But it’s important. Because if we don’t know WHY we are doing something, it’s easy to just go through the motions of doing it. To show up and be frustrated by the little things.
To feed the negativity that can sometimes exist in certain school cultures OR in our own head.
If you stay connected to your PURPOSE of being there, even when things get hard, you can show up inspired, energized, and knowing that all of the efforts are worth it.
That you are getting the perks, community and connection, fulfillment, and creating a lasting impact.
Need help finding your WHY? Check out this IGTV on it!
Want more support in developing your mindset as an educator? There are videos from experts, resources and templates, and a supportive Facebook community inside of the Recharge Hub.
Remember, You as a teacher, change lives. And that’s pretty rad.
Social Media Manager & Guest Speaker of the Recharge Hub