3 ways to unlock your mojo
We’ve all been there. Sunday night blues start as soon as you open your eyes on a Sunday morning. Your boot is filled with marking that you can’t face. You’re wondering ‘will I become a leaving teaching statistic’? I get it. I’ve lived it. However, all is not lost. Yes, we know the system needs an overhaul from the ground up and the powers that be could be doing a tad more to look after teachers and our wellbeing (understatement of the year). But, until then you can take matters into your own hands to reclaim your mojo and find out what it is that you really want.
1. Start with what you know – and get mind mapping!
You know more and have more power than you will let yourself believe. Seriously. You just need time and space to think it through. So, start by investing time and asking yourself the question: ‘If my mojo problem were solved what would my life look like?’ Take your time and think of the tiny details. Would you have more family time? Time for coffee every morning? More time for you? More time in the classroom? More time developing other teachers? Think it through. You could even go full teacher and draw yourself a mindmap.
Everyone goes through a slump at times but the reasons for this are personal. Take time to sit and reflect on what brings you joy, what sparks your creativity both professionally and personally. Then reflect on what is in your way currently. Be specific. Which particular part of planning? Which meeting? Which day? Start small and think about removing even the tiniest of barriers and making the smallest changes to add more joy into your day to day routine.
2. Confide and collaborate
Talk it through. The temptation to whinge and go round in circles is real, I know. But if you take this seriously as if it were a professional issue that needed to be dealt with, the chances are you’d confide in someone, ask their advice and receive support, coaching and/or mentoring. Teacher slumps should be treated in the same way as professional problems. I would wholeheartedly recommend employing a professional coach (I’m not loaded, I just substitute take out coffees for coaching fees) but if not, even a critical friend can help you reflect on what’s really going on and help you think about the steps you can take to change it. It could be something as small as prioritising a catch up with friends once a week, or something bigger such as having a difficult conversation, going for that promotion or changing schools or sectors.
3. Take action
The above steps should have revealed some information that you were ignoring, hiding in your boot, or hoping would go away on its own. Now is the time to act. Even the smallest of steps can move you from Sunday night dread to having your mojo back. It may be bigger steps that you need to take, like moving schools, or even leaving the profession. Try to flip the fear of these bigger decisions to intrigue. Research and seek people who have been in similar positions to you. From my work with the Empowerment Project I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that you are not alone in feeling any or all of the above. Use your professional networks, shout out on Twitter or contact the Empowerment Project for support. Your mojo is out there – know that you are worth taking the time to invest in to find it. Teachers: empower yourselves.