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BTW was created by Patrick & Julie Johnson, two Canadian educators with an interest in eduction & technology. This site showcases our interactive IBOOKS for students, but we also explore educational issues in our INQUIRY segments and share lessons/teaching ideas in our TEACHING TOOLS sections. Use the Labels section in the sidebar to navigate by topic or simply browse.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

INQUIRY: How to Avoid Teacher Burn Out?!

Teachers everywhere in Ontario will soon return to the classroom, looking tanned & feeling rested. Summer's over (face it, it's over!) and in the week before school starts teachers start walking the hallowed halls, ready to reconnect, share stories of summer escapades, collaborate, gather resources, and scuttle about behind-the-scenes getting ready for the Big Opening...the first day of school, Tuesday, Sept. 6th, 2011.

I find the start of the school year very exciting. Everyone's energy is up, enthusiasm crackles, teachers have big plans that they talk about excitedly, things they want to do different this year. There's eagerness. The first day of school is like World Series Day or the Super Bowl. Every one's jazzed and high on anticipation. Go Team!

This lasts for about two weeks. Then...you've got sore feet, your throat hurts, your immune system can't take all the 'school germs'. You've got a head cold. Your big plans are harder to realize. Let's break out the text books & worksheets! Ah, that's better, you think. You say: 'Kids, just fill these sheets out! It'll be easier for all of us!' Multiple intelligence' strategies are so over-rated, anyway...

Outside, the leaves are turning colour. It's pretty but you know winter--and a miserable winter commute--is fast approaching...


Every first day of school is like New Years Day, filled with resolutions that somehow fade within a month. Gonna lose 5 pounds? Gonna use more tech? Gonna be nicer to people? It all sounds good on paper...until you start to wear down, get busy (really, really busy!) & it all seems like too much work.

Teachers, how can we keep our teaching mojo up all year round? I've some ideas but I wonder if you've got others. Here's mine:
  • Be kind--to yourself & others. People aren't perfect.
  • Keep a list of your goals where you can see it daily. Yes, that means post it on the fridge, your car dashboard or by your desk at school.
  • Take care of yourself, whatever that means for you (exercise, eat right, get good sleep, enjoy your family, ensure you have playtime for yourself, etc.)
  • Say 'no' so as not to over commit yourself. Know your limits!
  • Say 'yes' to people who support you. Build up a community of supportive, like minded folks who can cheer you when you're down and celebrate with you when things go well. Go out for coffee/tea, share funny teaching stories, ideas, relate to one another as people & feel that 'human connection'. So often teachers are in their classroom & only get to speak to one another briefly in the staff room or at formal PD sessions. Connect informally & have fun!
  • Find a way to (re)kindle your enthusiasm for your profession.
  • Get online! The twitter teaching community is a fantastic place to share & connect with likeminded professionals. Join a twitter chat. (@cybraryman1 lists 'em all!)
  • Read Sir Ken Robinson's 'The Element' or view his great TED talks. I dare you not to feel inspired to live at your full potential after watching these!
What say you, folks? Any other ideas so we don't all collapse in June?

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