Fight teaching fatigue with some of these ideas

As a teacher, you love your job. You get to help mold young minds and prepare them for the future. But there are times when it wears you down. You might feel like you’re simply getting through one day to get to the next. It’s normal to feel this way, but what can you do to stay fresh?

One thing you can do is to simplify and focus on learning. This means not just testing your students but actually ensuring they are learning new things. Are you excited that they are learning new things? Have you shown your students something that they didn’t know before, and does that excite you? Try forgetting everything else and focus on teaching one new thing.

Another thing you can do is break the pattern. In the classroom, routines and procedures are essential. They set boundaries and give students clear direction on what to do. But the danger is that procedures and patterns take over. Are you just going through the motions because you did this the day before? What would happen if you did something that totally breaks the pattern and procedure? Would it bring new energy and interest for students?

There are plenty of things to try to break the pattern, such as group activities and learning stations, letting students create video lessons, challenging students with an “escape room,” turning the lesson into a game, and more. These activities can bring a fresh perspective and new energy to the classroom.

Finally, give students the wheel. You can talk about driving all day long, but you don’t drive until you actually take the keys and get behind the wheel. Students have to take the wheel to truly learn.

What does that look like? Try some of these ideas:

  • Turn your lessons into inquiry-based lessons. Give students the big question, point them in the right direction, and let them discover the answer.
  • Use a self-paced lesson and point students toward mastery. Set a goal of making 80 percent or higher on an assessment.
  • Use NearPod or lessons in Quizizz to get students to work on their own.
  • Give students choices in how they show you what they’ve learned.
    • Complete an online assessment of the skill in the lesson.
    • Complete a pixel art or maze assignment on the skill (check TeachersPayTeachers or other sites for ideas)
    • Let tables or small groups complete a presentation together and give the presentations to others in class.
    • Create stations and rotations for students to move from one task to the other.

In conclusion, everyone goes through dry spells, periods of high stress, and times when they don’t feel like they “have it.” But you can work through those times by going simple – focus on new skills, do something that breaks a routine, and, most importantly, give students the keys and tell them to start driving their education. With these strategies, you can stay fresh, motivated, and energized in the classroom.

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