Surviving the Long Haul

I hope 20 years from now I can still get excited about being a part of kids’ lives. I am looking for suggestions on how to enjoy teaching for a long time. — J., Missouri

One of the best compliments I ever received was in my last year of teaching: “I walked past your classroom this morning and I just hope I have the same passion when it’s my time to retire!” I really don’t know how to address your question without talking about my approach to my career.

I always expected that some students in every class would pose difficulties and planned accordingly. Similarly, I could only expect a few students to actually be enthused about my course. This led me to focus on developing life-long learners, not scientists or engineers. I shared my passion for learning and tried to make learning fun to accomplish this. I dedicated myself to creating fun environments, being a bit zany, and always being passionate about what I taught, which incidentally made it fun for me.

I embraced change and kept current in my subjects and teaching approaches (life-long learning.) I also tried to distance myself from colleagues who were generally negative and frequently complained. Sure, we all have bad times and need to vent but to live in a negative funk all the time is not good for anyone.

And I had a lot of hobbies.

Hope this helps!

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One Comment

  1. Harry E. Keller
    Posted February 18, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Those are excellent ideas. Having not walked in your shoes but having spent the last 20 years on a quest to enhance education through online learning, I can emphasize. How do you get up every day with joy in your heart? I have had many successes and many failures. The knowledge that I was doing something valuable along with the support of my family managed to bridge the bad times.

    You can survive the bad times with those things. You can renew yourself; you must renew yourself to avoid a downward spiral. You are doing something wonderful that few can do well. Follow the advice above and thrive.

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