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Don't Let Them Kill Your Spark -Teach2Teach #2

"How do you stay inspired and not get bogged down by the politics of teaching?"

This is the great question #2 posed by Carrie to Amy Lenord for her inspired #Teach2Teach blog series. Here is my 1st #Teach2Teach Post - Planning as a Department of One.

I have actually been thinking about not getting bogged down a lot lately with all the craziness that has been going on at my school. This time of year is always tense as budgets need to be approved for the following year, which usually means cuts need to be made, which means Change. Teachers who have been there forever freak out because "this is the way we have always done it." As a new teacher, you have the luxury of being much more flexible than most. Use this flexibility to spin the positive to others. Be the "positive Pollyanna" that everyone desperately needs. If there is a "negative Nancy" who you will never reach, politely avoid them and surround yourself with people who will only lift you higher. Do not let them kill your spark!

How do I stay inspired?


  • Have an outletLike Amy said, you need to have an outlet besides teaching. For me, my outlet is Camp Adventure. On Monday nights in the spring I train university students to be summer camp counselors. We sing songs, we play games, we use positive validations, and I get the chance to passionately talk about the best summers of my life, serving the children of the U.S. Military around the world. Many of these students are pre-service teachers themselves, and their dedication and enthusiasm inspires me to leave with renewed energy. 
  • Unwind & RechargeAlso, I agree that it is so important to have non-teaching related hobbies, or just interests to help you unwind. I do my best thinking and always find inspiration on long walks on the trails behind a stroller. Staring at a computer screen rarely inspires me the way that clearing my head on a bright, sunny day does. Yet, since I live in Iowa my winter unwinding usually finds me watching trashy TV or favorite shows with my hubby. Whatever helps you to relax, have a hobby that does not involve teaching (& pinning classroom ideas and blogging about teaching is STILL school related!)
  • Set BoundariesI do not work after dinner. My husband works long hours and I do not want to spend the precious time we have together working on school. Dinner and after is family time, where I engage with the people I love, relax, and unwind. I know this is a hard rule to follow as a first year teacher, but if you use your planning time well during the day, and stay after school while you are still in the zone, there is no need to spend an entire night planning or grading. You have to allow some time for those hobbies and to recharge for the next day, or you will burn out after Quarter 1. 

Avoid the Politics

Yes, as with any workplace there will always be drama and politics. My advice is to just avoid it as much as possible. If your lounge is a toxic vent fest, invite those positive and interested to eat outside at the picnic table or in a classroom. Once again be the positive light that brightens staff and students' day. 


Listen & Think Before You Speak

I am honestly writing this right now as a reminder to my big mouth that I just need to listen more and speak less in staff meetings. When our Christmas party started with an announcement by the finance committee that we would not be getting raises next year, I really should have just kept quiet, as it was not the time or place to be discussing it. This also goes for thinking before you act because you never know when one action out of frustration will come back to haunt you months or years later. Think before you speak, but don't let them kill your spark!

What about you? How do you stay inspired and not get bogged down in the politics? 
Join us & use #Teach2Teach to help each other out as we learn and grow as educators. 

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