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Sometimes, teaching can feel like an uphill battle – and that’s doubly so when we feel unappreciated by the parents, students, and even the administration around us.

With a profession that requires so much heart, love, and soul, it’s no surprise that we all feel a little under-appreciated and undervalued now and then. After all, the school doesn’t stop when the kids leave. There’s lesson planning, meetings, and everything else to think about.

If you’re feeling less than appreciated, these tips might give you the needed pick-me-up. Our work is our pride and joy, and we love what we do, but getting some perspective can make all the difference in keeping that motivation going in the long run.

Read on to discover a few ways you can ride out the bad times and bounce back fresh and new:

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1. Focus on your students

For better or worse, your students are probably the most legitimate source of evaluation you get as a teacher. To feel more like you’re making a difference, consider sending out a survey to your class to see how their year is going. Not only can this bring you back to the steady ground, but it can also help you know where to improve to get your mojo back.

What survey are questions good to include? Here are just a few ideas:

  • Do you enjoy learning with [teacher]?
  • What can [teacher] do to help you learn better?
  • If you could tell [teacher] one thing, what would it be?

This exercise can be heartwarming and informative, allowing you to connect better with your students and know precisely what’s happening with them. There’s no better way to feel appreciated than knowing you’re doing an excellent job for your students or having a clear idea of what you can approve.

2. Whose opinion matters?

Often, when it comes to feeling under-appreciated, those feelings can stem from the opinions or behavior of others. Whether it’s an angry parent, a new colleague, or even a supervisor, taking a step back and examining whether their opinion matters to you can help put it all in perspective. After all, there’s a reason you do the work you do – and if your students continue to thrive, you certainly can’t be doing that bad a job. Decide if their opinion matters before letting it get to you, and you’ll feel better in no time.

3. Do I need to change?

We’re not just talking about a fresh start, though sometimes they can be a great way to shake things up too. If you’ve heard some truths that make you feel less than appreciated, and the opinion does matter, then thinking positively and trying to grow is the best way forward.

Is there a flaw you need to work on or something you need to do better?

Taking the time to fill that gap and work on yourself can help you appreciate how far you’ve come. You cannot do something – you can’t do it yet.

4. Just let it go

As everyone’s favorite princess says, let it go. Sometimes, feeling underappreciated can lead to bitterness; that’s not something anyone wants in their lives. Instead of taking everything to heart, let time heal those wounds and allow yourself a little space to get back to feeling like you. A knock on your confidence can affect anyone. But taking a minute to breathe and let go of that negativity can soon reset your mental self to something more baseline and a little less all over the place.

5. Work on yourself

The feeling of being under-appreciated and pressurized doesn’t just come from external sources. Sometimes we need to look inwards to see that we’ve been beating ourselves up over every little thing.

You wouldn’t do it to someone else, so why do it yourself?

Remember that you’re a good teacher, and when it comes to your students, you’re making a difference and helping them to succeed. Keeping those thoughts in mind can soon help that negativity slip away. You’re worth far more than feeling bad about yourself.

6. Still feeling under-appreciated?

If you’re struggling to center yourself and keep your head in the game, maybe it’s time to change some things. From adding something enjoyable to your lesson plan to getting to know your fellow teachers, seeing the world outside your little classroom bubble can help you see the bigger picture. We all struggle from time to time. The important thing is to know that it’s only temporary, and you’ll be back to your stellar teaching self in no time.

What do you do when you struggle with feelings of being under-appreciated?