I’m tired today. Actually a lot of teachers I know are tired. Whether we’re teaching long days at a language school, or large classes at a public school, or teaching at multiple schools to try and pay the bills, teaching can be a tiring job. Burning the work candle at both ends makes it a challenge to stay healthy, and feeling less than valued by employers makes it hard to stay motivated. I was very interested in reading the teacher posts on the iTDi blog this week because they deal with this very topic–how to stay healthy and motivated. As always, I got a lot of great, practical tips, and food for thought.
Scott Thornbury reminds us of some harsh economic reality facing teachers these days–being asked to do more with fewer resources and lower pay. Community (like iTDi) becomes an essential part of staying motivated, and feeling valued. He also shows how many of the things that motivate us are actually within our control.
Sometimes, when we aren’t feeling motivated to do anything, doing nothing is the best solution. Or, by reaching out to our most unmotivated student we can find ourselves motivated as well. That’s what Chuck Sandy suggests. He also believes that one of the most important and motivating things we can do is to spend more time listening to each other.
Anna Loseva offers a treasure trove of tips — more than a dozen ideas in her post alone! We share a lot of similar ways of refreshing (I won’t say which ones!) and I found some more to try. I’m not as big a notebook addict as Anna is, but I will definitely try to carry a notebook to jot down creative ideas as they come to me. I’d never thought of eating colorful fruits and vegetables as a way to recharge the mind as well as spirit, but it makes sense.
For Naomi Epstein, finding a like-minded group of peers for inspiration and support is vital to our emotional health and motivation. Interestingly, she also suggests finding a hobby that is totally unrelated to teaching as a way to recharge our batteries. I love how she shows that an apparently unrelated hobby (her example is birdwatching) actually has relevance to teaching language.
Christina Markoulaki always does her homework, and in the course of researching her post she stumbled upon some sobering statistics about the health of teachers. Luckily, she also provides several ideas about how we can avoid becoming one of the statistics. We can enrich our knowledge by reading teaching blogs, attending webinars, and pursuing interests that keep us healthy (and provide us with new ideas for teaching).
Are you a super hero teacher? That’s the question Yitzha Sarwono asks in her post, and she provides some simple tips to help us find the super hero in all of us. We can set small, achievable goals for ourselves, create a place that we identify with recharging and refreshing, and never give up on problems (or students). And, of course, get a good night’s sleep and drink water
How about you? How do you stay healthy? How do you keep yourself motivated? Find a post (or two) that appeals to you and head over to the iTDi blog. Add your own ideas to the growing list in comments. Who knows? Your suggestion might be exactly what an overworked and undervalued teacher somewhere needs to hear!
I’d like to mention an endorsement the iTDi blog received from one of my ESL teacher super heroes–Larry Ferlazzo. Larry is untiring in his own efforts to motivate and help teachers be the best they can be, and his faith in our new iTDi blog means a lot. Please visit Larry’s blog to read more about the iTDi blog, and about the International Teacher Development Institute. If you aren’t already familiar with Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day, you should check out the many resources he shares (and consider subscribing).