How to Maintain Motivation in the Classroom

“March Tired” Already: Maintaining Mental Motivation with Paralympic Medalist Deja Young edLeader Panel recording link

 

Blog post by Stacey Pusey based on this edLeader Panel

Maintaining motivation, especially when facing extreme adversity, is crucial in every occupation. But when teachers are already looking forward to the end of the school year in December, they need additional resources to help them feel inspired and ready to tackle classroom challenges.

In the edLeader Panel, “‘March Tired’ Already: Maintaining Mental Motivation with Paralympic Medalist Deja Young,” Young, along with co-presenter Ella Maya, a sixth-grade teacher for Glenn L. Downs Social Sciences Academy (AZ), offered their strategies for self-care.

  • Avoid a fixed mindset. In other words, don’t approach a situation thinking you know exactly what will and won’t happen, what you can and cannot do. Instead, focus on showing up and being present for yourself, your students, and your colleagues. That is a victory in itself.
  • Set small goals. The past two years exemplify how quickly situations change. Instead of always looking ahead to next month or next year and stressing about not meeting the big goals, teachers can start by setting small goals. Focus on what you and your students can do in the next lesson. Celebrate the victories that have nothing to do with test scores but are about student growth.
  • Be ready to pivot. Let the students help guide goals, even if they differ from your lesson plans, if it will help them learn the skills. Talk to them and find out what lessons work for them, what doesn’t, and where they need additional support.
  • Use failure as a lesson. When you fail, take a moment to examine why. What steps did you take when you were successful? Were they any different from when you failed? Also, think about your mental and emotional states and how they may have impacted you. Remember that it’s okay to fail because you can start again.
  • Be open with your students. Show your students that you make mistakes–that you don’t always reach your goals. This will help them learn how to pivot and change.
  • Learn to compartmentalize. It can be hard to separate your professional and private personas, but it’s important to nurture your goals outside of the classroom. Remember and celebrate who you are outside of being an educator.
  • Learn to say no. Teachers are always asked to join one more committee, help one more club, take on another assignment, but that pace isn’t sustainable. Know when you’ve reached your limits and say no as needed.

Finally, the presenters’ overall message was that it’s okay to put yourself first. It’s difficult to help students with their emotional well-being if you’re burned out.


Learn more about this edWeb broadcast, “‘March Tired’ Already: Maintaining Mental Motivation with Paralympic Medalist Deja Young,” hosted by Classroom Champions and sponsored by ClassLink.

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