You are not alone, it’s quite normal, all teachers experience challenging days in school. Days when you wonder why you’re teaching and if it’s worth the stress that sometimes comes with the territory. This is sometimes made worse being a supply teacher filling in for others because you’re constantly changing schools. Almost as soon as you find yourself settling in, the assignment ends and then you have to start all over again.
It’s in moments like these that it’s good to be reminded why supply teaching is worth it and what an important role you’re in, filling the gap and providing continuity for the children in the class. It takes a special kind of teacher to adapt quickly to new schools and gain the trust and respect of the children in the classroom. It’s one of the reasons that good supply teachers are in high demand.
Knowing that you’re valued goes a long a way to getting you through challenging days, but maintaining motivation takes more than that. Your belief in what you’re doing is just as important. So what gets you out of bed in the morning? Where do you find encouragement?
It starts with you
Sometimes all it takes is the smile of child who has achieved a good test score, or finally got a concept they’ve been struggling with. Those are moments to be treasured for sure. But what will make the most difference is when the warmth, energy and encouragement comes from within, when you truly believe in the work that you’re doing and your passion for it shines through.
It’s a funny thing, passion. In a way it’s almost contagious, because when you’re working with someone who absolutely loves what they do, it generates a positive energy that encourages others to give their best too. Your passion for teaching can help you engage with the children in your classroom and give you the confidence you need to stand up there day after day sharing your knowledge and encouraging young minds to learn.
But what about the days when energy levels are low and you don’t feel the passion you usually do? Smile anyway. Smile because even though you don’t feel like being there, you’re there anyway. You showed up! Sometimes being motivated isn’t about what you feel, but rather about what you choose to do. When you choose to go to work, when you choose to be passionate and energetic about the teaching you do, it can make all the difference.
Getting it right sometimes means getting it wrong
In the same way you can choose to respond to negative feedback or unruly behaviour in a way that is positive. Nobody gets everything right all the time. In fact some of the most successful people in the business world, will openly admit that their many failures contributed to their success. It taught them how not to do things and make them seek out ways to do things better. As long as you’re willing to learn from your mistakes, failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can be the best teacher of all.
As a supply teacher you have a unique opportunity to build into the lives of others and make a positive contribution in the classrooms that you enter. Your skills and experience can help bridge the gap for scholars and teachers alike. And being exposed to many different schooling environments you have a great opportunity to learn from others and adapt the best of what you see into your personal teaching style. It’s worth it if you choose it to be, it’s worth it if you believe it to be.