Stamina, persistence and energy
(sometimes called “being tough”)
There is no escaping the fact that teaching is hard work. That doesn’t mean that it’s not enjoyable work, but there is plenty of it, and it is relentless. Great teachers do not work from 9 am until 3 pm, despite some community members’ thinking. It has been suggested that teachers interactions with students represent about half of the teachers’ actual workload.
You cannot have a “quiet day” in teaching if perhaps you are not feeling at your best; your learners’ needs do not lessen because you had a late night or are worried about paying for your car repairs.
Persistence is needed to:
- think of yet more ways you can try to help a student understand something
- find the perfect resource that will complement your lesson
- win over the child who is painfully shy, or withdrawn from learning, or displaying challenging behaviours
- come up with engaging ways to move the learning forward in a project where interest is flagging
- keep working with a family to help them to support their child with reading at home.
In fact, persistence is needed to deal with all the daily and longer-term challenges of teaching. Every teacher will face situations, people or moments that knock their equilibrium and self-esteem.
This website supports teachers in developing resilience and looking after themselves – you will find this a valuable resource and network.
Great teachers have achieved a good balance of a healthy ego whilst maintaining sensible humility. They are comfortable with their competence so they are not threatened when it is questioned, but they realise they are not perfect nor invincible and that other people see things differently. So again, they are not unduly threatened when people’s perspectives differ from their own. In a nutshell, they know it’s not always all about them.
Managing energy levels and remaining focussed and positive is easier for some people than for others. Teachers need to self-regulate and know when they need to rest, exercise, take stock, and reassess priorities. Part of self-regulation is self-awareness. It is knowing the things you find exhausting and the things that revitalise you, and being aware of your limits.