I was going into my fifth year of teaching, and it could have been my best year yet. I had looped from fourth to fifth grade with my same class. All of my kids had chosen to come with me. It’s still one of the greatest professional compliments I’ve ever received. And these kids…they were amazing. We had our procedures down. I knew their strengths and what they needed help with. I knew their interests, passions, and extracurricular activities. I knew what I had done that worked with them the previous year. It should have been an amazing year, and yet I still wasn’t feeling like I was loving teaching anymore. I looked forward to the weekends, counted down the days until summer break, and was perpetually perturbed at the district administration for their lack of support and complete misunderstanding of what was actually going on in the classroom as they passed down their initiatives. I wanted to love my job like I did my first couple years, and I just couldn’t. I was doing a good job teaching, but I never got into teaching just to be mediocre.
I knew I needed to either find a new role or quit education all together. I was lucky enough to find a position as a technology integrator in another district, and felt like it was going to be a new, reinvigorating way to love my profession again. It wasn’t. I worked with awesome people, I had freedom to research educational technologies and help teachers in a way that I never had when I was in the classroom, but I still didn’t feel like I was where I needed to be. I still blamed administration for my problems. I still didn’t feel supported. And I still didn’t feel like I was doing everything I could for the people I worked with. At one point I just questioned if this was just what “working” was like. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to look forward to going to work on Monday? But, that was hard to believe when I had felt passion toward my profession before, and I did see others that felt that way. Finally, something clicked, and I knew that I was tired of relying on other people to give me what I needed to grow and be better. I knew I had a choice that I could either continue to complain that the district didn’t provide me with what I needed to be better, or I could begin my own learning journey. I figured out that being happy in my profession was on me. It was my responsibility. And definitely knew I didn’t want to continue to dread going into work everyday. The students and teachers I worked with deserved better than that.
By taking control of my mind and attitude and my own professional learning, as I spoke about in my blog post The Rules of Teacher Engagement, I was able to re-engage in my profession. It wasn’t easy, and it took me time to figure out what worked for me and what my professional passions and core beliefs really were, but it has been one of the best choices I have made for both myself and the people I serve. My reawakening into education has erased my desire for the weekends to come, and replaced it with needing to tear myself away from my work because I love what I do that much. That love for education and learning has a positive effect on every person around me, and has made me that much better of an educator and person.
Find more resources on Health, Wellness and Emotional Wellbeing in this Pathway.