Roxanna EldenTeacher Appreciation Week is the first full week of May. Get ready for a flood of brightly colored email forwards reminding you that “teachers make all other professions possible” and assuring you that “2 teach is 2 touch lives 4ever.” This philosophical support about the importance of our jobs is loaded with implication. After all, if “one hundred years from now all that will matter is the difference you made in the life of a child,” you better not mess this up.

Of course, you never planned to mess up. You planned to be awesome. Lately, though, the sneaky part of you that sabotages New Year’s resolutions is attacking your commitment to update your students’ behavioral-outcome-­expectation-data-progress charts. Weaknesses in your personal life often carry over to your teaching style. The good news is that the skills and strengths that you had before you started waking up at 5 a.m. are still there. Consider your answers to the questions below as you try to channel your personal strengths into classroom success.

What are your interests outside of school?

Adapt your classroom routines to let you be the kind of teacher you hoped to be, and you may remember that you do love kids after all.

Being well-versed in your subject and in instructional strategies is important, but it’s also important to be well-rounded. Your activities in your free time provide a clue to the type of above-and-beyond moves that will recharge you instead of draining your energy. As a 4th-grade teacher, I was able to motivate students by promising a short caricature lesson at the end of the day — a skill I learned during a summer job in college. Other teachers have sparked enthusiasm

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