In September, you’re excited to get the school year started and your motivation is at an all-time high. By March, however, you’re counting the days until summer break.

It’s hard to stay driven when your reward to getting through the long winter months (staying inside and flu season are never a good mix) is standardized testing season. Whatever your reason, we all need a little self-motivation once in a while. Check out these tricks and tips to getting through the slump.

1. Remember Why You Became a Teacher

Maybe you had an influential teacher when you were young, or maybe you simply love learning wanted to help kids do the same. Whatever the reason for choosing your career path, take time to reflect on it. It’s easy to only look at the hard or boring parts, but those exist at every job. Every day, you are changing lives.

2. Make a Deal With Yourself

When that alarm goes off early on a Saturday morning because you have to proctor the SAT, motivate yourself to get through the day by rewarding yourself. For example, promise yourself that you’ll stop for ice cream on the way home after getting through the day. Or maybe you deserve a night of turning off your phone and watching a mindless reality TV show. You can certainly get yourself going when you have something to look forward to!

3. Set Aside “Me Time”

motivationIt’s not unusual for a teacher to work all day, stay late at school, then grade papers until it’s time to go to bed. Carve out 10 or 15 minutes each day to think about your goals and dreams and how to you can work to achieve them. These moments of meditation and motivation will add up big time.

4. Look at How Far You’ve Come

Remember how timid and nervous you were when you stood in front of your first classroom? Look at you now! If then-you could write a letter to now-you, what would it say? Think about how proud your family and friends are of you and allow yourself to feel that way. And the biggest motivation killer? Comparing yourself to others. Instead, try each day to become a better you.

5. Think About Your Successes

Nothing will motivate you to keep going better than those moments where you thought to yourself, “It was all worth it.” Maybe you helped a pupil ace math for the first time ever after many hours of tutoring, or perhaps you’re implementing a reading program that students love. You’re accomplishing big things just by being you. And don’t forget — there’s always plenty of room on the list to add future accomplishments!

This can be a tough time of year for all teachers. If you still find yourself struggling in the middle of monitoring standardized tests, try out these foolproof ways to make time fly, like making to-do lists or solving a Sudoku puzzle.

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