Find the Joy in Teaching…

An interesting trend I’ve noticed with young people lately is that they have begun to look at finding a job the way young girls look at finding a mate. Like a Disney movie where the princess always finds her man and lives happily ever after, young adults today seem to think that if they can only find the perfect career, they will be happy forever. They will never work a day in their life, as the saying goes.

However, those of us who are (just a little bit!) older and (maybe!) a little more mature, realize that, even if we absolutely love what we do, we can lose the fire that we once had. The joy of teaching can be lost in the mundane tasks associated with it–grading, committee work, etc. Unfortunately, when we lose that joy, the current mode of thinking says, “find a new job.” What we know is important to student success applies here, as well–we need grit. Because if we can power through those low valleys…we will eventually get to another mountain top.

What I’ve found to be true is that we get what we focus on. If our focus is on how stressed out, overwhelmed, under-appreciated, etc we are…that’s what we will get in our lives. If we focus on our students and those moments when a light goes on and we know we’ve made a difference–that’s what we’ll get more of in our lives. Judith Sedgeman from West Virginia University talks about the difference realizing this has made in her own journey here. It’s so important to be careful what we think about…how we talk about our jobs and ourselves doing our jobs. If we focus on finding joy in the journey, we likely will!


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