Roxanna EldenWe know motivating students and engaging families is part of being a teacher. Sometimes, however, just keeping ourselves motivated can feel like a full-time job.

But wait, you’re thinking, isn’t the look of delight and the love of learning on my students’ faces enough motivation? No. Not always. (And you weren’t even really thinking that. You thought that in August.)

Here are some reasons your enthusiasm might be flagging — plus some tips for making it through the mid-year slump.

Dispiriting discussions. Dealing with kids all day can make you crave the company of other adults, but not all adult conversations are equally helpful. Teachers’ lounge gripe sessions may help let off steam some days but feel toxic on others. And while the new teacher down the hall may be a good person to trade stories with, talking to her can be discouraging if she’s doing a fantastic job and can’t wait to tell you about it. Just remember this: Productive conversations are comforting rather than overwhelming. Any conversation that makes those Sunday night stomach cramps worse is not the conversation you need to have right now. Don’t be afraid to remember out loud that you have papers to grade and beat a hasty exit.

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