Student looking up at her teacher from her desk

Calling all educators – are you ready to get back into the swing of school? I hope you had some time to rest and recharge and are now getting excited for the start of the school year.

Even for the most passionate teachers, switching gears from the mindset of summer to the mentality of leading the classroom can take some time and energy. To make the transition smoother, I invite you to lean into your preferences to amplify your enthusiasm for the upcoming year.

One way to reinvigorate your passion is by taking time to find – or remind yourself of – your why. Engaging with the reasons that motivate you or led you to be an educator can help to inspire and re-energize you.

As you reconnect with your why, I invite you to use the Emergenetics® Behavioral Attributes to support your reflection process. If you don’t know your Behavioral preferences, try testing out the different approaches to see which one resonates most with you.

The Process for Finding Your Why

Expressiveness iconExpressiveness

Those with a preference for first-third Expressiveness may prefer to work through their thoughts by spending time journaling or reflecting independently. Those in the third-third may prefer to talk it out with a friend or colleague.


If you have a preference for first-third Assertiveness, you likely enjoy a steady pace so find blocks of time over the next few weeks to reflect. Those in the third-third often appreciate a rapid pace, so you may feel more motivated if you reconnect with your why in one sitting.

Flexibility iconFlexibility

First-third Flexibility is often energized when options narrow, so give yourself time to consider your reasoning and pick one primary motivator to revisit throughout the year. Those in the third-third typically appreciate when options open up, so come up with a list of several whys to inspire you and be open to shifts as the school year goes on.

Thought Starters to Inspire Your Reflection

As you engage in the process, it can be helpful to consider the motivations of your preferred Emergenetics Thinking Attributes to remind yourself of the things that you love about teaching. With these insights, you can frame your why.

While I encourage you to spend the most time on questions that resonate with your Profile, it can be useful to explore each Attribute to see if they inspire any additional thoughts and ideas.


The Analytical Attribute tends to get energy from complex problem solving, data and analysis. As you identify the elements that make you passionate about teaching, ask yourself:

  • What challenges will I get to solve?
  • What research will I engage in?
  • How can I build my expertise?
  • What do I get to discover about what makes my students tick?

Pen On PaperStructural

Those with a Structural preference often appreciate planning, processes and practical applications. Some questions to consider that align to this Attribute, include:

  • What day-to-day tasks do I love engaging in?
  • What practical outcomes will my class achieve?
  • What best practices or lessons do I enjoy implementing?
  • What step-by-step strategies can I put in place?

People talking bubbles iconSocial

When it comes to the Social Attribute, people and connection tend to be the biggest sources of motivation. Reflect on the drivers of this Attribute with questions like:

  • Who will I get to collaborate with?
  • How can I support and connect with my students?
  • How have my students impacted me in the past?
  • Who do I love engaging with in my school community?

Light bulb with brain inside iconConceptual

The Conceptual Attribute typically enjoys ideation, envisioning possibilities and seeing the big picture. To better understand your motivations, you can consider:

  • What impact do I get to make?
  • What new methodologies will I get to experiment with?
  • What possibilities come from my teaching?
  • How can I positively impact the future?

Finding your why is not just an activity for educators to engage in – it can also be a source of inspiration for students as they come back to the classroom. To kick off the year, I encourage you to include an activity to help your students awaken their excitement for learning.

Help Students Find Their Why

This activity can be a simple, fun way for youth to get back into a positive headspace and reconnect with their STEP Youth Reports if they have taken the questionnaire. In your first few weeks together, simply ask your students to identify why they are excited about school this year.

To set up your activity:

  • Allot time for the class to reflect independently and engage in small group discussion.
  • Identify a purposeful way to group your students for this discussion – I would recommend using WEteams or group by like-Expressiveness.
  • Provide a timeline for the activity so that students may complete it in one class period or share their thoughts at the end of the week.
  • Remind your class that it’s perfectly acceptable to land on one reason or write down a few.

To help youth identify their why, share a couple of thoughts starters for each Thinking Attribute:

  • Analytical – What are you excited to become an expert in this year? What is one goal you want to accomplish?
  • Structural – What learning outcomes are you most excited to make progress on? What steps will help you get there?
  • Social – Who are you excited to learn from this year? Who are you most looking forward to working with?
  • Conceptual – What is your dream for the school year? What do you get to try that you have never done before?

Be sure to share the reason(s) why you love teaching and encourage students to share their whys as well. It can be a great way for you and your class to learn more about Attributes that may not be a preference, which can help build perspective and inspire new connections.

As you get ready to go back to school, I encourage you to just take it one step at a time. Be kind to yourself as get back into the swing of things and post your why(s) somewhere that is visible to you. That way, if things get a little stressful, you can always come back to these reasons to help fuel your enthusiasm and passion.

Learn more about how you can apply STEP to support your students by exploring our Certification programs or filling out the form below to connect with our team today.

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