R: Reflect On Your Challenges

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
— Martin Luther King, Jr

Reflect On Your Challenges

It’s no secret. Education is full of challenges. Add the challenges that students come to school with and you may feel that being a teacher in today’s schools is impossible. But it isn’t. With the right focus and the right steps, you can push past those challenges and make the impact you’ve always dreamed you would as a teacher. Where the real change happens is when you realize the CORE of those challenges that we have control over and take steps to take control over our own feelings, mindset, and daily actions and reactions.

What It Means:

Facing our challenges or *ahem* weaknesses is something we are forced to do every day. We are wired as human-beings to look for challenges and hardships. It's in our DNA. Unfortunately, our ancestors didn't know how easy we would have it one day. You know, not having to forage for food in the middle of winter while being worried about wild animals eating us while we search for our next meal.

All in all, we have it pretty darn easy nowadays, so when we think about challenges, they can range from extremely difficult to very minor. Everyone is different and challenges are relative. Our challenges are OURS. They can be mental, emotional, physical, or theoretical. They can be rooted in our past or predicted for our future. Either way, it's what you do with those challenges that counts. There are no journeys without some bumps in that road we are taking. 

It all starts with WHY.

Why is this challenge here? Why is this challenge here in the first place? Why haven’t you searched for a solution? Why am I reacting this way?

Questions You Can Ask Yourself:

Why am I struggling with __________? “Why?” Because ________________. “Why is that a struggle?” Because ______________. “Why?”

Next steps:

  1. Have you taken The Teacher Burnout Quiz to identify the type of teacher burnout you’re experiencing? Do that first and then share your results in The Burned-In Teacher Facebook Group.

  2. Make a Brain-Dump List. Set a timer and open up that new journal of yours and list the things that are standing in the way of you and your happiness and fulfillment. Write for 2, 3, or 60 minutes or whatever amount of time it takes to get it all out there. Then...

  3. Make a list of possible solutions. They can be as realistic or far-fetched as you'd like. Just try overcoming those challenges on paper. It may make them easier to consider doing in real life. 

I interviewed Jaqueline Whiting about this topic on The Burned-In Teacher Podcast. Check out that interview here:

Ep #002 - Jacquelyn Whiting Helps Us Find What We Love Most About Teaching

Things I have used to help me along my journey of 'Reflecting on challenges:"

- Start to think about talking to someone on a regular basis. And no, it doesn't have to be a Shrink. However, if that is what you're considering, then go for it. I cannot be the judge of your situation. Only you can. Ask for help from someone you trust: a friend, relative, your dog, or if that person is me, I'm here for you too.

- The book that started me on my journey out of burnout way back in 2014 was the oldie, but goodie: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephan Covey. This, along side of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do by Amy Morin is a match made in Heaven, I tell you. I'm not suggesting you read them at the same time, but if that's your thing, I'm not going to judge you. 

What is Burned-In Teacher Coaching?

I offer two types: Small Group Coaching and 1:1 Coaching. The Small Group Program offers eight insightful, actionable, and supportive weeks of connection and guidance with other teachers who are struggling with teacher burnout. My 1:1 option offers individualized support for you for as long as you need it.


Take a deep breath. We are our own heroes. You can do this. Burn on. 


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Amber HarperComment