Scott Burrows

Scott Burrows, Inspirational Education Speaker Overcoming Adversity in Education: Do You Have the Mindset?

As a motivational education speaker, I know how hard it is to change the mindset of defeat and overcome adversity. I was once a Division 1 athlete and a competitive martial artist. I thought I was indestructible. Then I was involved in an automobile accident that left me a quadriplegic. From my hospital bed I had an important choice to make: to get up and go on with my life, or give in to defeat. There were those who tried to convince me that my condition would be as good as it could ever get, and that it would be understandable if I walked away from my purpose and myself. I refused to accept the pronouncement and from that bed I developed the philosophy that propelled me to succeed.

Educators are facing many crippling challenges as well and many find it is easier to give up than go on. According to the Washington Post in an article entitled “Where have all the teachers gone?” it was reported that “teacher education enrollment dropped from 691,000 to 451,000, a 35 percent reduction, between 2009 and 2014 — and nearly 8 percent of the teaching workforce is leaving every year, the majority before retirement age.”

Why are so many educators giving up?

It was the great statesman Benjamin Disraeli who said, “There is no education like adversity,” to which I might add, there is no adversity quite like being an educator. Do you have the mindset to overcome the adversity of being an educator in today’s environment? I know you do.

The Challenges are Many

The website listed eight challenges that teachers face. The challenges are often too much for some educators to bear. Teachers must perform many roles these days; they are often held accountable for more than they should; they face mountains of excessive paperwork; and they have trouble keeping up with the expectations of school administrators. The challenges don’t end there.

In August 2018, the National Education Association (NEA) ran an article entitled “10 Challenges Facing Public Education Today.” At the top of the list were a lack of funding, school safety concerns (since Columbine, almost 200,000 students have been exposed to gun violence), and stress as nearly 93 percent of elementary school teachers alone report stress as affecting their health and welfare.

Educators are also seeing widening gaps between policy and implementation, complex problems with applying one curriculum to students with different learning rates, and the influx of non-native speaking English students into school systems. No wonder the stress is overwhelming.

From my conversations with educators across the country, I know that teachers who used to love to inspire students complain of “no longer having fun in the classroom,” They feel emotionally drained, lacking even the ability to even attend to “personal needs” during the day.

Reconnecting with Your Vision

Are you determined to overcome the adversity you face as an educator and to re-kindle your vision and re-ignite your passion? Or will you be a statistic? Will you be another ex-educator who quit a profession they loved because they lost the determination to continue?

In virtually every market research study, teachers cited these top reasons for why they first entered the profession: they wanted to make a difference, they wanted to influence the personal development of children, they wanted to have a positive impact on the world. While many public forums exist where teachers and administrators gloat over leaving the profession, many more regret their decision.

How can you overcome the stress and the disappointment of adversity and come back stronger and more motivated than ever? You can do it by revisiting the same compelling VISION that first brought you in as an educator and focusing on the things you can control in the workplace and classrooms. Furthermore, you can summon the courage and grit needed to make changes to the system so that teaching becomes fun again by developing an unstoppable mindset and recognizing the kind of value you bring each and every day to your students and coworkers. Remember: the influence you have on one life will impact many others. Don’t give up too soon!


Contact Scott Burrows, Inspirational Education Motivational Speaker through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

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