My colleague shared with me this week that the only thing keeping him at the school is his paycheck. He's extremely unhappy. He feels like he puts so much into his classroom, but the kids just don't care. Some are openly insubordinate, while others are compliant and nice, but rarely are kids truly engaged and excited to learn. It's so draining on him that he wants out. And this is a guy who's taught for 20 years - and I've seen him teach, he's excellent!
I shared with him, one thing that helps me is to notice all the times when I make a difference. He said, "I just don't see it." This is a guy who does amazing work - really a stand-out teacher - and I'm SURE kids benefit all the time. But he's in a space where he's missing it. And it's draining his spirit!
So what to do?
It's not a cure-all, but using an activity called What Went Well regularly (and with others) can be transformative. Here are the basics, and a quick video:
The key is to do this with others. It's great to do alone, but once we start using it celebrate with colleagues and friends, we create a habit of acknowledging the difference we make each day. That way, when things are tough (and so often they are!) we won't get sucked dry.
Give it a shot, and let me know if you need any help!