As the school year opens, teachers are facing multiple challenges. Many report high levels of job dissatisfaction, as schools face staffing shortages across the country.
Inadequate pay, job stress, disruptions in teaching caused by the pandemic, and feelings of being unsafe in schools due to recent shootings, are some factors that have made teaching today, a lot more complicated.
Despite these challenges, why do some teachers choose to stay?
To find the answers to this question, we reached out on social media to ask teachers: What is the one thing that inspires you to keep going during challenging times?
Here’s what they shared:
It’s the little things
From helping students grasp challenging concepts to the lightbulb moments of sudden understanding, teachers find reasons for joy in their day-to-day routines.
“It’s the little things, the moments during the day when you see a student grasp a concept and the feeling of mutual joy experienced by you and the student.”
“The light bulb moments. The smiles and laughter from my students. Knowing I’m still making a difference.”
“That there are high times too. If I keep going, I will keep growing, and I will hit a high point that surpasses the last one.”
Connections in the workplace
Teachers cited their colleagues and supportive leadership as reasons to keep going.
“My colleagues, absolutely!”
“I left the classroom in May but for 17 years, my colleagues got me through the tough times to be honest. I was fortunate to always be at schools with super strong comaraderie and you need people like that in the trenches of any challenging career.”
“Support from leaders”
More pragmatic reasons
Some teachers said looking forward to the holidays or a planned retirement helped them stay grounded.
“Holidays, weekends, and summers off!”
“The prospect of a happy planned retirement!”
Students keep teachers going back
The most popular answer across all our platforms was that teachers kept going for their students in order to help them grow, learn to think critically, and develop enduring bonds with them, even after they’ve left school.