The Teaching Struggle Is Real – Embrace It!

The teaching struggle. If you’re a teacher, you know what it’s all about. Every day, when you get up in front of your class, you struggle to make them understand, to learn. Instead of fighting against it, embrace the challenge.

The Teaching Struggle Is Real

Our favorite fourth grade teacher, Ms. Sneed, sat at the back table with her student teacher. Mr. Grow slowly shook his head. Then he looked down. “Your teaching is so great,” he said. “I just don’t know how I’ll ever get there.”

Ms. Sneed smiled gently. “You’ve already taken the first step,” she said. “You’ve acknowledged the teaching struggle. It’s real. Now you need to embrace it.”

Mr. Grow perked up a little. “What do you mean?”

After a slight pause, Ms. Sneed responded. “The best teachers dive in; they take risks. Actually, they learn to enjoy the struggle – and think of it as a gratifying challenge.”

The teaching struggle is real. Embrace it, and prepare for a lifetime of fulfillment.
Are you feeling “pinspired”? Feel free to pin images from this post.

Shift Your Teaching Struggle – Lift, Don’t Push

“You know, I didn’t start out as a great teacher,” Ms. Sneed said. “When I began teaching, I pushed my kids through the curriculum every day. Coverage. Was it boring? You bet. Boring for me, and boring for the kids. Then – I don’t know if it happened slowly or overnight – I realized that I needed to lift my students to new heights. Lift, not push. We’ve talked a little about scaffolding. When you help kids climb that ladder, you lift them up.

“This type of teaching requires greater effort. But with it comes greater reward.” She chuckled. “As a matter of fact, I often imagine the teaching struggle as lifting an entire class full of students.”

Lift, don't push. In other words, don't push kids through the curriculum. Instead, scaffold them to mastery.

Encourage Autonomy

“This shift,” Ms. Sneed continued, “encourages autonomous learning.  Kids become active in their own learning. By the same token, the teacher’s role changes. Instead of standing in front of the classroom lecturing, he or she moves to the sidelines and coaches them.”

Teach More Than Just Your Lesson

Mr. Grow let out a deep sigh. But Ms. Sneed continued, “When you get up in front of the students, maximize instructional time by looking for hidden opportunities. I know your university encourages teacher reflection. If you reflect before teaching, you will find these opportunities. A little teaching struggle before a lesson feels a whole lot better than regret afterwards.”

Teach more than just your lesson. Look for hidden educational opportunities.

Expect Greatness

“Finally, set high expectations for every learner. Raise the bar. Expect greatness. Then help them get there. Sure, both student and teacher struggle. But the outcome is worth it!”

Embrace the teaching struggle. Set high expectations for your students. Expect greatness. Help them get master the concepts.

Enjoy Teaching (Even the Teaching Struggle)

“Today,” Ms. Sneed said, “I’m giving you a pep talk. This week we’ll delve deeper into each of these topics. Then you can find ways to embrace your teaching struggle – and enjoy teaching even more.”

She looked at her mentee fondly. “You know, Rome wasn’t built in a day. But if you work at it, little by little, you will become a master teacher too.”

Previous Post
How to Maximize Instructional Time in the Classroom
Next Post
How to Teach the Hydrosphere, or Water on Earth