How to Get Motivated and Avoid Teacher Burnout

Published On: March 28th, 2016·By ·

Do you know how to get motivated?

Feeling teacher burnout? Wondering how to get motivated again? Then you'll want to read about the article I found on Twitter. I watch social media closely and it's my job to share some of the hot topics on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other outlets that teachers, principals, students, and parents are contributing.

Have you ever seen football players before a game? How they run down the line high-fiving their team members or gathering in a circle and shouting about how “they got this” or some other motivational line? What might look like just posturing is actually a scientifically-backed way to increase motivation and, therefore, performance.

Mind Shift posted an article that Bill Ferriter shared about how science is investigating if you can control the part of your brain that controls motivation. The area of the brain that does most of the motivating work is towards the middle and called the ventral tegmental area. When we feel motivated, neurons are firing away in that area. The trick scientists are trying to discover is if we can make those neurons fire on our own.

According to the article, the researchers have had some success. Things like giving yourself an intense motivational speech or imagining getting yelled at by an intimidating coach actually helped increase the neuron activity in the ventral tegmental area. If those sound a little cheesy to you, then try finding a song that might help instead. People reported singing Queen helped them (try and guess which song). If Queen isn't your thing, then try remembering a song that pumps you up (Forces by Susumu Hirasawa works for me). There is a hitch though. Most people who participated in the tests said the experience was exhausting. While they did manage to increase neuron activity, it left them feeling drained.

So far, there isn't enough information on whether this actually increased productivity or had other long lasting effects. It might not work for you, but it's probably worth trying, right?

how to get motivated

What are some ways you motivate yourself? Do you hope they continue this study?

Tori Pakizer is the Social Media Editor at She writes regularly about the use of educational technology in K-12 classrooms, and specializes in how teachers use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media. You can follow Tori and SimpleK12 on Twitter @SimpleK12. If you have ideas for using social media in schools, please send your information or tip to

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