Staying Motivated in May

It’s May and the end of the school year is in sight.

Will you breeze through that finish line still energized, or go limping forth while counting the days?

When motivation and vigor are at a lull, one text that can help reenergize is Meenoo Rami’s Thrive. Written with the intent to provide a sustaining voice and vision for all teachers, Meenoo addresses (among other topics) the need for mentors and networking in our profession. We are not in this alone! Meenoo writes, “The research suggests that teachers who have had a more varied mentorship experience are more likely to thrive in their work and to stay in the field.” She goes on to describe “varied mentorship” as including “meetings with peers and planning with other teachers in their subject area.” Sharing stories, strategies, and experiences: these are some of the informal ways that mentoring happens. Meenoo adds, “My mentors don’t just give me answers: some help me respond to pressing needs from a position of experience or work with me as I try out new ideas.” Other ways that informal mentoring happens:

  • Colleagues who provide feedback as a means of seeing what’s possible in practice
  • Colleagues within your discipline with whom you collaborate, and/or who challenge your work
  • Colleagues who help you find a professional community (perhaps on the CEL Blog!)
  • Colleagues who help you value your work
  • Colleagues who help you stay balanced

Where, then, might you look for mentors who rise to this challenge? Meenoo suggests considering these questions:

  • Who seems to be passionate about their work and enjoy their job?
  • Who lifts your spirits when you see them in the hall?
  • Who is most willing to share ideas?
  • Who has ideas that are fresh and interesting?
  • Whose career path looks like a path you would like to follow?

At our CEL convention in Atlanta, GA this coming November (20th-22nd), we have the distinct honor of having Meenoo as a keynote presenter. The theme of this year’s convention, which compliments Meenoo’s Thrive, is: Innovative Leadership: Navigating Changes in Literacy Education.

In the coming months, the CEL blog will host a series of posts centered on the theme of innovative leadership. Reinvigorate your energy by participating in our CEL blog, which will focus on the following topics in the upcoming months:

  • Advocacy
  • Mentoring New Teachers and Maintaining Momentum
  • Connecting Career and Classroom: Leading the Charge in Academic and Career Planning
  • Leading the Way: Technology that Empowers Students and Teachers
  • Cultivating Novice Teachers as Teacher-Leaders
  • Maximizing Meetings and Maintaining Morale

We look forward to investigating these topics with you, and to learning from the many varied voices across our CEL network.

Here’s to finishing strong.  



Amanda Stearns-Pfeiffer (CEL Member-at-Large 2016-2019)

#celchat – Be sure to join us on Thursday, May 19th from 8-9:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) on Twitter (#celchat) for a continued discussion of this topic. CEL Member-at-Large Matt Morone (@MrMorone) will lead the discussion.


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