There comes a point in almost every teacher's academic year where they begin to feel disillusioned. This is particularly true for novice teachers. It usually happens after the excitement of the beginning of the year wears off. Disillusionment is characterized by the stress that settles in after the beginning of the year flurry. You have likely been evaluated by your principal, made it through the first set of parent-teacher conferences, and might be struggling with aspects of your teaching that aren't going as you'd envisioned. Things seem different than you imagined them.
It's important to acknowledge the way you feel, first and foremost.
This doesn't mean that you don't enjoy teaching. It is a very common
phase of teaching. Check out the New Teacher Center phases of new teachers
for more info. Or, check out previous blog posts about this topic here, here, here, here, and here.
There are a lot of things you can do if and when you begin to feel this
way. First, take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself makes you a
better teacher. Get sleep, enjoy a night away from the gradebook with
your spouse or children or friends or doggie. Exercise. Try a new
healthy recipe. Watch videos of cats or the beaches in Bali. Spend some
time every day thinking about what you are thankful for. Whatever it is
that fills your soul, find a way to make it happen.
Then, focus on what might be contributing to your disillusionment. Next
time you feel frustrated, write down things that are causing your
frustration. From your list, think about what is in your control and is
ongoing. What is one thing you can do to make a change in this factor?
Think about ways to let go of those things that are not in your control.
The upcoming winter break can serve as a chance to reset - to gain some
perspective, to refocus on the big goals for the academic year, to
recharge with family and friends and fun.
What is your plan to get through the disillusionment? If you have experienced this before, what has helped you in the past?
Reference: Mendler, A. N. (2012). When teaching gets tough: Smart ways to reclaim your game. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.