Don’t stop! Your joy for teaching is just ahead
by Deborah Stewart, M.Ed.
There was a time in my teaching career where I thought I was done. I started feeling that I had been teaching long enough and it just wasn’t fun any more.
Not that it had to be fun but I dreaded going into the classroom. I had mastered the art of teaching. I could walk a class of 24+ preschool students through morning greeting, calendar time, music time, story time, art time, small group time, and any other time without skipping a beat.
I could make the coolest printables; had stickers for every holiday; and a set of “use walking feet” rules on the wall.
Don’t stop! Your joy for teaching is just aheadEvery time I loaded up on goodies from the Dollar Spot and Dollar Tree, I was happy for a few days and then the newness wore off and I needed another ‘fix’ just to keep feeling like teaching was fun.
I was doing all the “right” things that I had learned at conferences, from other teachers, and by experience but for some reason, I had lost my passion.
I wanted to do something else so I decided to leave the classroom.For the next several years, I directed, wrote curriculum, set up a preschool for a local church and trained their staff to run it. I travelled and did some speaking and went back to school to finish my masters degree in early childhood education.
You would think that with all I was doing, that I was passionate about teaching but the reality was, I deeply believed in early childhood education but couldn’t see myself ever wanting to go back into the classroom again.
And then about ten years ago, I came across a blog where a teacher was sharing photos from her classroom for her parents. She didn’t use many words in her posts – she just shared photo after photo of what her young students were doing during their day. I think I went through every post she had in her blog over the next two days. Her classroom furniture wasn’t state of the art. I didn’t see a single printable anywhere in the classroom and even wondered if she just didn’t own a printer. I didn’t see photos of cool things she had bought for the classroom and I didn’t find instructions on a new DIY she had made.
But what I did see was photo after photo of her students deeply engaged in all that she had prepared and offered them to do all throughout her classroom and suddenly, I was excited about going back into the classroom.
I wanted to create a deep and meaningful teaching experience for me and my students and I couldn’t wait to get started.I made my way back into teaching.
However, this time I went back not with just a passion to teach but with a passion to learn. You may be feeling like something is missing in your teaching practice too. On the surface, it may seem like everything is what it is supposed to be but you are not loving the experience.
Let me encourage you by saying that you can turn that around. I’m not a special case.
I don’t have special circumstances or unlimited funds. I am just like you and I am here to tell you that you have within you the power to bring passion back into your teaching practice.
Joy is on the horizon for you my teacher friend so don’t go away today thinking that it’s not in the cards for you.