How To Maintain Your Love Of Teaching During a Tough Year

Teaching is a tough job, and getting harder every day. Our classrooms are full of needs that we don't always have the tools or resources to support the way we'd like. More and more of us are feeling exhausted, frustrated, defeated. I asked, and my readers answered with their ideas about how to maintain your love of teaching during a tough year.

Teacher with head down on the desk and text that says How to Maintain Your Love of Teaching Even During A Tough Year

This 20th year of my career has been a challenging one. The many needs in my classroom are exhausting, and I leave at the end of the day feeling frustrated that all my years of experience are failing me.

I know that I am a good teacher - managing behaviors and creating a caring classroom community have always been strengths, but nothing I've tried this year seems to work.

That is hard for me to swallow. It makes me feel like a failure some days.

If you haven't had a year like this yet, you're lucky. Not to be a downer, but it is coming. We all go through it. We all survive it and come out on the other side with our love of this amazing profession we've chosen intact - but only if we make taking care of ourselves a priority.

So, how am I getting through it? 

The answer to that question is a lot of self-care. I have an amazing husband who I couldn't get through this year without. I try not to spend too much time in my classroom after the instructional day ends. I have an amazing registered massage therapist who I visit every couple of weeks.

I've put ME first.

But enough about me. I asked my email subscribers how they maintain their love of teaching during a tough year and they had some fantastic advice to share.

Words of Wisdom From Loyal Readers:

I just stop and breathe! My kids are coming from homes where they are seeing more before they come to school than any child should have to see in a lifetime! I just have to think about the true reason I came into this profession, which is the kids! Take time for yourself and do not do things for your classroom with every spare second you have. I have learned that the hard way. -Ms. Brittany

In my free time, I immerse myself in non-teaching activities. I have taken back my lunch hour. I designate my lunch time during the day to go outside the school building and sit on a bench and have my lunch in nature. If the weather doesn't allow having lunch outside then, I go into an empty classroom during lunch and use my tablet or laptop to watch a public television show about animals or nature, or a television show I never get to watch at home. -Celeste Glascoe-Njoku

Talk with my colleagues and problem solve about ways we can work smarter and not harder. I also vow never to bring home more than 30 minutes worth of work when I leave the building. -Tori Filas

I do something little for myself every day whether it is getting coffee on the way to school or spending twenty minutes by myself at night. I also try to spend at least two minutes with each student every day for a one-on-one chat with the teacher. I love hearing what has been on their minds and it reminds me that I am there every day because I love my students and want to impact future generations. -Christen Anderson 

I try to take joy in the small things. Those little successes that may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but may mean a lot to the child. If you take joy in one small success every day, then you will have a moment of happiness every day. -Breanna 

Each day after the warm-up timer sounds, I greet my students and tell them that I am happy to see them and I am glad that they are here. I know it’s not much, but it’s become a routine and helps to center me on what is really important before we start class. Besides, I am truly happy to see my students, and I am glad they are in my room. This helps so much on those tougher days. :) -Lauren Cooke 

On my own, I have brought in Mindful Mondays. I take 45 minutes for instruction with students about learning to be reflective, and we run through breathing techniques, and small activities that refine focus. It helps clear and set the mind for learning, and it helps me relax for instruction. -Kim Bowman

Get together with fellow teachers and talk about successes in our classrooms, NOT complaints!  -Sandy T.

I have started carving out "me time" 20-30 minutes a day for me and time to visit, collaborate with other teachers. PD sessions with engaging hands-on activities for my students. Seeing their faces light up when they accomplish a task reminds me WHY I do what I do everyday!!! -Michelle Hauser

I take care of myself by having a cut off time by which point I leave school and work behind. Love of teaching... every so often I do something fun... fun for the children and me even if it’s a little off curriculum. -Christie

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed their ideas! I would love to have included them all, but this post would be FAR too long! Congrats to Ms. Brittany, who won a resource from my Teachers Pay Teachers store for her contribution! If you are new to Teachers Pay Teachers (my all-time favorite site for teaching resources!), you can set up a free account here!

No matter how much we love our job or how much time we invest in creating the best learning environment we can, teaching is difficult. Please remember to take care of yourself first. You won't be any good to your students or your family if you are stressed out, upset, or angry all of the time. Hopefully, you've found some inspiration here for how to maintain YOUR love of teaching during a tough year.
Hearts that say "Teaching Is Tough. Be good to yourself."

Please don't go without first leaving your own words of wisdom or inspiration! Leave a comment below for other teachers who need it or me!

You might also be interested in this post about how to dig yourself out of an end of the year rut:

Picture of forks with text that says "Stick a Fork in Me. I'm done."

You can find more great teacher inspiration on this Pinterest board:

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Teacher with head down on the desk and text that says How to Maintain Your Love of Teaching Even During A Tough Year


  1. Loved reading the submissions. I know that to help me and the kids we often listen to various types of usic throughout the day. We pick the genre depending on what we are working on. For example classical during reading, up beat music during brain breaks where we dance around the classroom.

    1. Yes! Music is really helpful in my classroom as well, Renee! We use a lot of classical or quiet instrumental music to calm our bodies and brains for learning. :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. My class has started using music as a way to calm down,connect, or get the wiggles out. For example we use classical music during reading and writing, and more up beat music for a brain break where we dance around the room. It helps us to focus and re-focus on our day.


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