The last few days of break have been very cumbersome for me. I have felt weighted down, not very energetic, and somewhat irritable. Nevertheless, I knew the alarm would go off at 5:50a.m. this morning and I would have to be ready for my students. A very perplexing issue that has risen to the top of my thoughts over the past few days is the term motivation. Yes, I truly believe as educators, we come back from Christmas break re-energized and ready to teach our students to the best of our abilities.
On the other hand, I know as a teacher in the great state of Michigan, we pray for snow days too. Or at least I know I will be wanting a snow day. Why? In my school district we don’t have another break until the start of our Spring break which is April 2. Now, I know some school districts have a mid-winter break in February to try to break things up, but I do not. So, I had to ask myself the last few days, what is going to keep me motivated to get me through this long stretch. Because to be honest, mother nature doesn’t look to be on my side.
The first idea that came to mind was professional development. This is a great time of year to be a part of some sort of professional development that your district or local university may be hosting. I might suggest finding some professional development on the Common Core Standards. I recently enrolled into a professional development book club about the Common Core and Project Based Learning. I am looking forward to attending. In addition, I am helping our Writing Project Sit with professional development about informational writing and the Common Core. Needless to say, there should be plenty of opportunities for any educator out there to imerse themselves in PD. I find PD does two things for me. First, it obviously gives you a break from your students and your classroom where the stress can mount quickly. We all need adult interaction once in a while. Second, I always get that refreshing feeling that we all need. I become armed with strategies to use in my classroom and it almost feels like a coach has given me a pep talk. Once again, I am ready to go!
Besides professional development, I encourage anyone to write. Writing has helped me so much since being part of the National Writing Project. Troy Hicks, our site director, was intense and challenged us all. I am the writer today and the teacher I am today because of him and the National Writing Project. Writing is a great outlet to express your feeling and your ideas. In addition, it makes you feel better when you are done getting your thoughts down on paper. Writing can take the form of a poem, journal, song, etc. I even encourage you to enter a writing contest. There are plenty of them out there. Figment.com is a great website that hosts plenty of writing contests.
If professional development and writing don’t sound the most appealing, I encourage you to start a book club with friends or colleagues with a New York Time’s bestseller, or any other book that may be of interest. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea or might be too time consuming. Befriend a colleague and go out for a nice dinner and perhaps vent to each other about the challenges you face in your classroom.
Whatever avenue you choose to take to keep yourself motivated and doing your best as a teacher in your classroom, I know this time of year can be challenging. Lean on each other professionally to help!