How Your Focus Makes or Breaks Your Love for Teaching

Have you ever heard of the question, Is the glass half empty or half full? They both are the same glass of water, however, what you see depends on your focus. If you think the cup is half full, then you’re right. If you think the cup is half empty, then you’re right too.

Think of this cup of water as your classroom.

Some days the cup looks half full, other days it looks half empty. But you know things are bad when you start to only see the cup as half empty.

I used to be a happy. I had fun with my students and I enjoyed teaching. Then something happened: I suddenly stopped enjoying my job.

I changed from the feeling of Happy Monday! to Is it Friday yet? I started feeling horrible things:

  • My classroom management sucks

  • These kids don't want to learn

  • I’m not good enough

  • I don’t know what to do

I was so stressed because the problems seemed to never go away, and it felt like they were getting worse every day. I didn’t know if I could stick around as a teacher anymore. Why bother? It was too stressful, and it felt like I was going crazy. I wanted to quit!

Luckily, I didn’t resign. My mentors said I didn't need to quit my job as a teacher, and that all I needed to do—to love my job again—was change my focus.

To understand how you can enjoy your job more by changing your focus, watch the video below.

Get started! Try the following in your classroom:

When your students come in to class, pay attention to the ones that follow your expectations. For instance, if you expect your students to sit down and take out their notes, rather than saying, Quiet down! or Take out your notebook!, you can say, I see Johnny is waiting quietly to get started, or Sam has her notebook out and is ready to learn. Next, during the lesson, pay attention to those students that are working hard for you. Reward them as soon as you catch them, and it must be in that exact moment. Not a second later! You can make it into a game. For example, if you catch a student raising their hand, say, Nice job raising your hand; or, if a student participates and gets an answer wrong, say, Nice try! Keep thinking, and don't forget mistakes make you better if you learn from them. 

I'm always on the lookout for students that follow my expectations so that I can give them a compliment. That is my focus in the classroom. And it’s so much fun! Every day is another chance at playing the game of finding students that are doing what I expect of them and then complimenting them.

These examples may sound simplistic, but the point is you need to change your focus from seeing the glass as half empty into seeing the glass as half full. It's possible! I've done it myself.

Keep in mind, whether you think the cup is half empty or half full, you’re always right.


How do you see your classroom: is it half empty or half full? What are some things you find yourself focusing on every single day? Do you look for the good in students or do you look for the bad?

Also, have you ever felt like quitting? If so, why? Share the things you focus on that makes you see it that way. Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

Also, let me know if you tried my classroom tactic to change your focus. How did it feel? Was it weird to change your focus towards the students that were doing what you wanted them to do? Share below.

If you want to learn more tactics that can help you enjoy teaching, sign up at School Your Brain.

The Educator

School Your Brain