Teaching Profession

We Asked Teachers What Inspires Them. Here’s What They Said

By Apoorvaa Mandar Bichu — August 23, 2022 2 min read
Cheerful young ethnic, elementary school teacher gives a high five to a student before class.
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As the school year opens, teachers are facing multiple challenges. Many report high levels of job dissatisfaction, as schools face staffing shortages across the country.

Inadequate pay, job stress, disruptions in teaching caused by the pandemic, and feelings of being unsafe in schools due to recent shootings, are some factors that have made teaching today, a lot more complicated.

Despite these challenges, why do some teachers choose to stay?

To find the answers to this question, we reached out on social media to ask teachers: What is the one thing that inspires you to keep going during challenging times?

Here’s what they shared:

It’s the little things

From helping students grasp challenging concepts to the lightbulb moments of sudden understanding, teachers find reasons for joy in their day-to-day routines.

“It’s the little things, the moments during the day when you see a student grasp a concept and the feeling of mutual joy experienced by you and the student.”

-@mike_staber

“The light bulb moments. The smiles and laughter from my students. Knowing I’m still making a difference.”

-@smack819

“That there are high times too. If I keep going, I will keep growing, and I will hit a high point that surpasses the last one.”

-@mrsdelgadilloWM

Connections in the workplace

Teachers cited their colleagues and supportive leadership as reasons to keep going.

“My colleagues, absolutely!”

-Jean Hersey, Ed.D

“I left the classroom in May but for 17 years, my colleagues got me through the tough times to be honest. I was fortunate to always be at schools with super strong comaraderie and you need people like that in the trenches of any challenging career.”

-Shawna Berger

“Support from leaders”

-Rasha Awad M.ED

More pragmatic reasons

Some teachers said looking forward to the holidays or a planned retirement helped them stay grounded.

“Holidays, weekends, and summers off!”

-Dominic Aragon

“The prospect of a happy planned retirement!”

-@moltomacster

Students keep teachers going back

The most popular answer across all our platforms was that teachers kept going for their students in order to help them grow, learn to think critically, and develop enduring bonds with them, even after they’ve left school.

“My students! They are fantastic and I want them to be able to have positive choices upon graduation from high school.”

-Ramzy Earle

“The idea that, while I can’t control world events, I can have some impact on the ability of teenagers to think critically about them.”

-@matthew_fulford

“When former students see you in the hallway and just light up and wave! It’s so encouraging to see how those relationships continue.”

-@SHSCoachMollie

“Student Curiosity! As long as students are asking questions, I will be there to help guide them to an answer (or frustrate them by saying “I don’t know, let’s find out!”)”

-@JackieKatz8

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