Did you know the average four year old asks 390 questions per day? And that the majority of those questions are why? Sadly, somewhere around third grade, the barrage of questions stops, and the question that is asked stops being why and turns into “Will this be on the test?”
I have come to find in my own experience and with the teachers I coach, that when we find ourselves feeling stuck, stagnant, or just plain unmotivated, that we have lost touch with our own personal why. The majority of teachers I have known went into the profession because they felt it was their calling. They began their careers full of enthusiasm for the difference they felt they would soon be making in the lives of people. But by the five year mark, many have left the profession entirely, and those who remain seem overwhelmingly missing that fresh faced enthusiasm that began their career.
There are two definitions of the word purpose, the fuel behind the why. One definition for purpose is the goal of an action. The other meaning for purpose is the function of a thing brought into existence. When your purpose is your why for doing what you do, both definitions are being brought to fruition in powerful ways. Living your why gives you energy and motivation each day to handle the trials, tribulations, challenges, and stresses that life in the classroom brings us day in and day out. Living your why pulls you through the rough patches and propels you to do the things you need to do even when you don’t want to do them. Living your why sends you home each evening knowing you spent the day doing what you were meant to do, and your connection to others, your profession, and your inner self is energized.
As we approach the final third of the school year, testing season, and the ending preparations of our students before they graduate to the next grade level, find some time to sit with a cup of coffee, hot chocolate, or tea and write down your why for being a teacher. Remember why you started; write down what that ideal learning classroom looks and sounds like, and focus on bringing your vision to life. It will be so refreshing to end your year fulfilled, and not counting how many days until summer break. So, if life is a test, then our “why” is the answer.