attheminute teaching mission

What does it mean to be purposeful, in control, inspired and enough?

23 January, 2023

I’ve said that it’s my mission to enable teachers to be purposeful, in control, inspired and know they’ve done enough, but what do I mean by that? Here’s an overview of these four pillars along with actions we can take towards each of them:

attheminute teaching mission blog


This pillar is the driving force behind our actions. It’s about having intent. It means having an end goal and taking deliberate actions to reach that. This is important for a couple of reasons: 

  • Firstly, it is our job as teachers to educate our students so that they develop the knowledge, skills and competencies to do things they couldn’t previously do by themselves. 

  • Secondly, having a strong purpose is crucial for getting us through hard times because it gives us drive beyond just meeting our personal needs; a drive to do something bigger than ourselves. 

From a practical sense, being purposeful comes from having subject and curriculum knowledge and a practical understanding of the best pedagogical practices. It also comes from acknowledging what motivates each of us as individuals personally and professionally and leveraging that to keep us in pursuit of excellence (doing the best we can). 

Actions we can take:

  • Familiarise ourselves with the curriculum we are teaching and supporting materials that we have access to

  • Observe, discuss and implement good pedagogical practices

  • Maintain high, achievable expectations for our students and their learning

  • Reconnect with our values and motivations for becoming teachers in the first place

  • Set personal goals and steps that we can take to work towards them

As humans we perform better when we are trying to achieve something that goes beyond our individual needs and desires. [Kubi Springer]


In this area, we want to focus on what is within our locus of control, rather than all of the factors that aren’t. It’s about having teacher agency to make informed decisions in how we teach, how we manage our classrooms and how we use our time. To be in control we need:

  1. To have effective systems for managing our workload of planning, assessment, admin tasks and such

  2. A toolbox of strategies for managing behaviour that we can implement with confidence in our classrooms

  3. To make the school systems and processes work for us, or if we can and need to, bring about constructive change that enables us to carry out our job more effectively

Actions we can take:

  • Build helpful habits that get us closer to what we want to achieve

  • Eliminate hindering habits that leave us stuck or slipping backwards

  • Learn and implement a range of techniques for managing behaviour

  • Share quality resources with colleagues to save everyone valuable time

  • Use evidence to inform what practices we should stop, start and continue

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. [Will Durant]

If you want something done, ask a busy person. [Benjamin Franklin]

Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t. [Steve Maraboli]


Inspiration keeps us fresh. It energises us. The bubble of excitement that works its way up and surfaces in creativity, mind-blowing ideas and brilliant lessons. That buzzing-for-the-rest-of-the-day feeling. When we’re inspired, we:

Seek challenge.
Want to learn.
Pursue growth.

Being inspired lifts us out of our ‘safe’ comfort zones and feeds our innate curiosity. 

Actions we can take:

  • Read! Teaching-related content or completely unrelated topics of interests

  • Talk! Not just to our established friends but other colleagues and people in different fields of work with a diversity of life experiences

  • Dig further into the topics we’re teaching and get curious - wonder why

  • Share and celebrate the successes of fellow teachers

  • Do the things that fill us with joy and carry that energy through to the rest of our activities

The best teachers are the best learners.

Just try new things. Don't be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar... [Michelle Obama]


Most importantly, we need to value ourselves and our efforts. We need to treat ourselves with the same care, patience and benevolence that we show our students. The only way that we’re going to rid ourselves of the guilty feeling of not doing enough is if we truly believe that we have done our best. 

Actions we can take:

  • Keep best intentions at the forefront and utilise the tools and resources we have to achieve them

  • Block in ample time to do our job and then allow ourselves guilt-free time outside of work

  • Be team players and support our fellow teaching staff members through encouragement, hands-on help and empathy

  • Let go of the opinions and words of people who have brought us down in the past

  • Regularly celebrate the best teaching moments and let this permeate staffroom conversations

I am enough.

Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life. [Amy Poehler]

While we are all going through different experiences in our work and personal lives, these are four things that I believe are key to all of us teaching at our best AND feeling good about it. 

If you’d like to join me on this mission a reality, you can reach me at or stay in the loop with weekly teaching emails here.