Improving teacher motivation has been on the forefront of many administrators' agendas for some time now—whether that's because of the alarming teacher turnover rate or because teachers tend to forget about their own needs. Whatever the case may be, longevity in the field of education is dependent upon us teachers, and if we want to avoid burnout, we must stay motivated.
Here are a few teacher motivation strategies that have worked for me.
1. Set Daily Intentions
There was a moment in my career when my motivation was severely lacking. I felt tired and drained because I was teaching during the day and pursuing my master's degree at night—I was definitely getting burned-out. I brought up these concerns with a colleague, and she suggested that I start setting intentions for the day each morning before I even got out of my bed. I had to clearly determine what I wanted to achieve that day, such as intending to stay calm when things got loud or taking time to get to know my students better, and then set out to achieve that goal. Each morning I would think of what I wanted to achieve and then at night, before I went to sleep, I would check back with myself to make sure I achieved my goal. After about a week or so of setting intentions, I found that this trick did in fact help motivate me.
2. Update Your Workspace
For years, people have talked about how the way offices and personal workspaces are decorated has a direct effect on employees' productivity and motivation. But I didn't realize how much of a difference it could make until I updated my own space. I was once losing motivation and having trouble concentrating when spending time at my desk. I decided to surround myself with things that made me happy. From pictures of my family and pets to my favorite flowers and inspirational decor, I took control of my workspace and created an environment that truly motivated me.
Further reading: 10 Ways to Avoid Teacher Burnout
3. Embrace Motivational Quotes
One of my favorite motivation strategies is to read, post, and display inspirational quotes about teaching—such as "Teachers who love teaching teach children to love learning" or "Today you lead the school, tomorrow your students will lead the world." These quotes inspire me to keep going because they remind me why I chose this career path in the first place, and they encourage me to be the best educator I can be.
4. Try Something New
Oftentimes, teachers feel unmotivated when they've been doing the same routine for a long time. I've found that changing things up a bit is a great motivator. For example, I used to start the day with my students doing seat work. As I got into yoga in my personal life, I decided to start the school day with a morning yoga session. The students would come into the classroom, and we'd have a quick morning meeting followed by a yoga sequence. Sometimes all you need to do to stay motivated is change up your routine or add something new and exciting to your day.
Further reading: How Do You Grow Your Teaching Career (Video)
Teaching is a profession where you must stay motivated, so take matters into your own hands. Once you do, you'll realize that self-motivation is the best motivation of all! How do you stay motivated in the classroom? Share your tips in the comments below.