How to Stay Motivated in a Teaching Career

Posted by on October 24th, 2015

Teaching is a dynamic, challenging profession to say the least. Adult ed instructors understand the challenges of classroom management, student motivation and creating skill-specific lessons to help students succeed. To top it all off, high school equivalency exams are evolving, creating a changing landscape that instructors must navigate. In the face of these ongoing changes and challenges, even the best instructors wrestle with staying positive and motivated.

Here’s the Situation

Although you’re feeling pressure and stress each day, students expect you to bring something dynamic to the class. They should never feel any tension in the air from you, or have to hear about any of your troubles. It’s your job to stay fresh, share your energy, and sustain motivation in your teaching career. Here are five ways that can help.


1. Pace Yourself

Running yourself ragged creating the “best” lessons and implementing amazing classroom procedures can naturally only last so long. It’s important to take a few breaths along the way to ensure that you have enough energy and motivation left after a week, a month, a year of teaching.

  • Take productive rest breaks during the day. Treat your body right by eating healthy snacks, going for short walks, or stretching rather than loading up on junk food or caffeine.
  • Engage in conversation with students away from the actual meeting space.
  • Call home (unless that invites stress) or a friend for a positive reinforcement.
  • Touch base with a mentor to seek solutions to a current class management problem.


2. Unplug Yourself

If your phone only means more work, turn it off. You want to step away from anything that distracts. Even when you are away from school, put limits on your phone usage. Using a digital device for web surfing, phone calls, emails, and more can drain your attention. Once you establish a discipline for phone usage, you find time for things that refresh and energize.


3. Plan Some Fun

Anyone in any job should pursue something fun or relaxing as part of their daily regimen. It’s not a matter of avoiding work so much as finding something restorative. That could be exercise, a good book, a professional membership meeting, or a date night. Perhaps you recharge by taking care of the yard, completing a do-it-yourself project, or taking a weekend trip. Do whatever it takes to recharge your battery and possibly think about things from a new angle.


4. Remember Why You Teach

Take time to remind yourself why you began teaching in the first place. Consider the students you’ve helped over the years, or recall particularly happy memories throughout your career. Sometimes all it takes is a trip down memory lane to rejuvenate and press on in this challenging career.


5. Seek Help

Everyone has a bad day from time to time. If you’re feeling more desperate than that, or it your lack of motivation continues without letting up over a long period, it could be time to check with your healthcare professional. Poor nutrition, high blood pressure, chronic pain, and any number of other medical conditions can drain your energy. A doctor’s advice may be enough to restore your balance.


Students rely on your leadership, and that can tax your energy and motivation. Doing your job well requires you to take care of yourself so you can bring a sense of commitment and excitement to the classroom each and every day. Implementing simple solutions each day can be the long-term solution to a successful career as an adult ed instructor.


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