Today’s teacher mindset is broken. Too many people push too much onto teachers. Unfortunately, this leads to a variety of voices in every teacher’s ear, shouting a negative mindset into reality.
How can educators bring an empowering mindset into a forceful system of negativity? This post is meant to give you a starting point. Teachers can have a strong, positive mindset in the face of the plethora of systemic issues in education.
Recognizing the External vs. the Internal
What are the external factors to your teacher mindset? What’s on the inside? These two aspects must be clear!
External factors tend to have a powerful impact because they change what teachers can and cannot do. Examples like the CRT debate, the don’t say gay bill in Florida, and other similar bills, show how a politician can make an educator feel powerless.
Many external issues are even closer to a teacher’s world. This can be in the form of a principal demanding certain treatment for certain students, or a department head forcing compliance to a specific curriculum. Stripping of autonomy feels like an attack on the teacher.
Add in the comments from parents in the community and society at large, and you have a dangerous combination of external voices. It is vital to understand these factors and recognize their impact to the profession.
However, none of those issues are internal. Think of this question. Take your time and be honest! Are you a bad teacher, or are you in a bad system?
Many of us feel trapped in a system designated to fail. These systemic issues are external. Understanding that is crucial to the next step: evaluating the internal.
The Internal Feelings of a Teacher Mindset
The mindset issue that plagues teachers most is the internalizing of external voices. Burnout, demoralization, work stress, and other career dangers stem from this issue.
Considering the difficulties of the external, what’s happening internally? Think of these questions and how they may impact your mindset.
- Do you feel like your teaching goes against what parents and administrators want?
- Does it feel like you never do enough?
- Do you have trouble trusting your ability to manage your classroom?
- Are there teachers who you feel are much better than you and always will be?
- Have you worried that you aren’t giving students what they need?
- Do you feel powerless throughout your teaching day?
How many of those questions resonated with you? Did you see yourself in any of them? All of them?
These are the internals. It describes how you feel about yourself, your ability, and your contribution to the field.
If the internals are not functioning well, your teacher mindset will drop with it.
Keeping it Simple
Want a stronger teacher mindset? Do not fall for the trap of today’s world that demonizes educators and exerts force against the profession. Instead, do the following:
- Be a master of the things you can control
- Be an advocate for the things out of your control to fight for positive change
- Model resiliency and calmness to your students
- Bring your best effort to your career, then live your life and passions outside of your career
- Do not be consumed or overwhelmed by externals, they do not belong in your head space
- Read empowering books & consume podcasts that uplift you (Try “Teacher’s Guide to the Mental Edge” and “The Perfect Ten“)
Do not settle for less. You deserve a mindset of power!
Read next: A college failout turned Ph.D. Mindset