Hey teachers–what is your ‘why?’

Building a positive school culture and creating routines to benefit communities of educators can support teachers and highlight their hard work as teachers discover their why.

More than half of the teachers in the US are seriously considering leaving the profession earlier than planned. A number of factors have led to this, including Covid-19 learning interruptions, lack of resources and support for teachers, and more.

Right now, teachers are also experiencing burnout at an all-time high. This has shown to impact our students’ learning and future success. In fact, both teacher burnout and constant turnover have serious negative consequences for students. Teachers who are highly dissatisfied with their job and have intentions of leaving can impact their effectiveness and disrupt students’ academic progress.

While the burden to improve teacher conditions lies with school districts, communities, and legislators, both teachers and students benefit when teachers intentionally reflect on and connect with the current that moves them to be a teacher. Every teacher has a reason that drives them to teach–whether it is connecting with learners, sharing content you feel passionate about, believing that every learner deserves a high-quality education, or something else. Every teacher has a “why,” and school districts, departments, and teachers can intentionally build in opportunities for teachers to reflect on their why and connect with colleagues who may share that “why.”

Creating Reflective Routines

The original reason you chose this profession is typically the guiding principle that forms your “why.” It might have been the influence of a great teacher you once had, a passion for a particular subject, your love of children, or something else entirely.

It’s easy for everyone’s “why” to become obscured amid the daily grind; however, building in purposeful routines that allow teachers to reflect on and connect with their “why” can positively impact school culture, job satisfaction, and clarity of purpose. As this school year gets underway, administrators, department heads, and teachers can keep the “why” in front of them by intentionally including collaborative conversations and reflective activities into staff meetings, common online landing spots, and staff learning environments.

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