The COVID-19 pandemic wore out countless teachers. Almost 85 percent of teachers say their job is considerably more stressful now than it was before the pandemic hit. This stress is driving some teachers away from the classroom. More than half (54 percent) of teachers say they are at least somewhat likely to leave the teaching profession in the next two years. For many, the passion for sharing knowledge with young minds has dried up.
If you feel exhausted by the past few years, you don’t have to leave your career field. You can have fun teaching and bring your passion back to the classroom. Here are a few ways to focus on the best parts of teaching while reducing the burden of exhausting tasks.
1. Identify Why You Lost Your Passion
Unfortunately, there is no immediate solution to have fun teaching. Every educator faces their own challenges in the classroom and their own low points in their careers. While many teachers have similar experiences, no two classrooms are the same.
Start by identifying why you feel like you have lost your passion. Are you overwhelmed by the number of hours you work? Do you get disheartened by the lack of resources available as your class sizes increase?
List out your frustrations – no matter how big or small – and then identify which aspects you can and cannot control. For example, you cannot control your class size, but you can modify your classroom so you spend more time with students and less time grading or reviewing their work. Your goal is to use your list of teaching pain points as a road map for a better day-to-day experience as an educator.
Image Credit: Education Week
2. Find Ways to Streamline Time-Consuming Tasks
The average school day lasts between six and seven hours (depending on your district). The average teacher works 10 hours and 40 minutes per day. This means that after most students leave, teachers have anywhere from three to five hours where they keep working, planning, grading, and preparing for the next day. Many teachers split this time between early-morning work before school and after-school tasks.
No one is fun when they are exhausted. If you are running on fumes from working late then it may seem overwhelming to put on an excited face each day. If you can cut back a few hours each week and restore your work-life balance, then you can arrive at the classroom rested and ready to teach.
Sort through your day-to-day tasks and identify items that can be eliminated along with work that can be automated. For example, you may be able to send automated student progress reports each week, which saves you time from manually developing them. You can also use more digital assignments that auto-grade students instead of reviewing paper materials.
When tedious manual tasks are reduced, you can focus more on connecting with students and helping them overcome learning hurdles.
3. Break Up the Classroom Experience
If you are bored with the day-to-day teaching experience, then your students are too. Change gives people something to look forward to and breaks up stagnant routines. Fortunately, you don’t need to plan complex field trips every time you want a different classroom experience. A few ways to engage students differently include:
- Move to a different location in the school during class. Learn outside or move to the gym for a movement-based activity.
- Invite guest speakers to visit the classroom or present via video call. Let someone else lecture for the day.
- Embrace projects and activities that differ from the standard learning experience.
- Develop lessons around group work. Let students work in pairs, trios, and small groups periodically so they are always learning in a different setting.
You can implement these changes without increasing your budget or changing your lesson plans significantly. Both you and your students can benefit from a change.
4. Turn Your Classroom on Its Head
If you want to have fun teaching and restore your passion for education, consider rethinking how you approach classroom management. This fall might be the year that you flip your classroom and completely change how students learn.
With a flipped classroom, your students are introduced to new material at home. They listen to your recordings and complete readings that would otherwise be done in class. Then, in class, they do their homework. Students work on an assignment you provide and you spend your time helping your kids and clarifying any issues.
A flipped classroom is ideal for students who learn at different paces. Students that need more help can carefully review the materials at home and ask questions in class. Students who understand the concepts can work ahead.
Not only can a flipped classroom give you a new teaching style, but it can also save you time. You only have to record your lectures once and can reuse them in the coming years. Plus, you will spend your class time directly helping individual students, rather than trying to keep the attention of the whole class.
5. Look for Tools That Employ Personalized Learning
Depending on the grade you teach, you could have anywhere from 25 to 30 students – or more – in each class. For high school teachers that have five or more classes, you could encounter more than 200 students over the course of the day. There is no way that all of these students have the same learning levels.
One way to reduce your exhaustion is to look for tools that help you accommodate multiple student learning levels. Oftentimes, it can feel like you are trying to juggle too many balls in your classroom by simultaneously helping students who are struggling while challenging advanced learners.
At eSpark, we understand that every student is at a different point in their learning career. This is why we develop activities and Quests that challenge students when they prove mastery in a subject. If a student needs more time to understand an idea, we provide materials slightly below and slightly above their individual grade level. Each of our activities needs to maintain a student approval level of at least 85% or they are pulled from the system.
Test out eSpark and look for other opportunities for differentiated learning. Think of how much time and energy you can save by only developing one lesson plan for all of your students.
6. Have Fun Teaching with eSpark
Our goal at eSpark is to create meaningful activities that help students learn without sacrificing fun. Both students and teachers want to have fun in the classroom while engaging with the material. If you are looking for solutions to bring back your passion, try eSpark Learning for free to see how no-prep lessons can take some of the work off of your plate.