Happy Teacher Series: Get Out of Your Teaching Rut

Do you find yourself in a teaching funk? Try these tips for climbing the ladder back out of your rut and being the best you!
Have you ever gotten yourself into such a teaching rut that you didn't think you would ever see the light of day again? Are you stuck in a cycle of too little sleep, not feeling your best all day, and making silly mistakes that just aren't like you? You are not alone! I don't know a single teacher that Hasn't felt this way at one point or another in their careers.

The hard thing about busting a teaching rut is that there is so much riding on it. First and foremost is our own well being. When we are stuck in a rut we are not able to be our best selves and likely aren't taking care of ourselves either. Additionally, when stuck in a rut we aren't great people to be around, and out students and colleagues deserve more than that.

Now, I know that no one gets into a rut on purpose. It just kind of happens, and we often don't know we are falling into a rut until we are already waist deep and can't see the light of day. When you do find yourself sinking into a rut and you identify it as such there are few things you can do.

Happy Teacher Pull Back

There are so many demands made of teachers, but some of the things that push the water above our heads are of our own doing. If we take a step back and prioritize what is most important to our health and our students then we can start making ground back. 

Part of finding your priorities is learning when to say no when asked to take on more. When you are working your hardest to just hold on, the last thing you need is to take on more. This can be especially tough for teachers, because in general we want to please people which means saying yes to more than we can handle sometimes. 

Do you find yourself in a teaching funk? Try these tips for climbing the ladder back out of your rut and being the best you!Happy Teachers Set Goals

Sometimes all you need is something to work towards. It may sound a little too simple to be true, but it really does work. When you have a goal in mind it helps you prioritize, because you only say yes to things that move you closer to that goal. 

With that being said, start small with your goals. There is nothing worse for our self worth than being in a rut and then failing, so make that first goal something you know you can achieve with just a little bit of extra effort. You should have to work for it, but not too hard. 

When you achieve your goals reward yourself! Treat yourself to a piece of chocolate, a pedicure, or a night out on the town with your friends. This positive reinforcement will make the connection in your brain that working towards something reaps benefits, just as it does for our students. 

Happy Teachers Find Inspiration

When you are feeling down on yourself it is hard to imagine yourself feeling anything but down ever. Instead of letting the cycle perpetuate itself get out of your own head and find some inspiration. Inspiration can come in many forms. It might be that spunky coworker of yours that always seems to find a positive spin for what it getting you down, a book that inspires you to try something new, or a funny meme that you connect with. Whatever it is, latch on, and enjoy the ride. 

When we find inspiration in our lives we are often too busy to notice, but when we follow it amazing things happen. Hanging out with that cheery coworker who might seem a little too optimistic at first can soon be a welcome distraction from your worries. You might even find yourself thinking more positively too. The same goes for surrounding yourself with inspiring thoughts through reading or surfing the web. 

Happy Teachers Take a Break

It is okay to admit that you are in overload mode and need a moment. 

Sometimes this means you hide in the classroom closet and eat a Snickers bar. Other times it means you lock yourself in your classroom along during lunch instead of eating with your teammates. Once in a while it means you take a personal day to enjoy life a little, or catch up on rest to reset yourself. All of these things are okay. 

Do you find yourself in a teaching funk? Try these tips for climbing the ladder back out of your rut and being the best you!The important thing about taking a break is that you recognize that breaks are a springboard to get you back on track. If you find yourself needing a break all the time, then they are not working and it is time to try something else.

Happy Teachers
Redefine Success

As teachers we are naturally competitive with one another, and most of the time this works to our benefit. Sometimes though seeing another teacher be really successful can hurt our self esteem and push us deeper into a funk. 

Instead of defining success based on the accomplishments of others we can redefine what it means to us. We might have a colleague that is exceptionally organized and while we might be envious of their skills it kinds of brings us down to see the piles of paperwork in our own classrooms. Instead of thinking that you have to be as organized as your colleague set a small, accomplishable goal for yourself such as keeping your desk clear. By starting small and choosing an item that will be a success for you, you can build on it to larger successes.

Happy Teachers Climb the Ladder

When it comes to pulling yourself out of a funk it really is all about reaching up one wrung at a time and pulling with all your might. Build on small successes and use them to propel you back to the you you want to be!

For more ideas on being a happier teacher check out 11 Things Happy Teachers Don't Do


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