Julia Surovegina
TeachEnglish

How I cope with burning out as a teacher (part 1)

There have been quite a few posts on the topic lately so I suppose this has truly become a world-wide issue. It truly IS extremely difficult to maintain the same level of energy and nMM8R7DicQ0excitement when all you want to do after a few classes is to stretch your legs in bed, watch stupid TV shows and eat junk food. I’m rather sure that most teachers come across such an issue at one point or another in their life and even start considering changing their career path. If you are a great teacher, I definitely do not want the world to be deprived of such a talented educator, so let’s look into what you can do to keep your spirits high!

1. First alteration that helps me a lot is swapping the roles and becoming a student yourself. Take up crafts classes, start learning a new language or, finally, learn to bake delicious desserts. Being on the other side of the classroom for a change might boost up your inspiration and let you feel that somebody else is responsible for your knowledge.

B5yVrl7xOxA2. Finding a new place to work at. Going to the same school and preparing for the classes in your kitchen can get very dull and monotonous. However, drinking your favorite Latte and enjoying a nice cozy coffee shop atmosphere can make a huge difference. I allow myself this privilege at least a few times a week and I can assure you that focusing on your work in such places is so much easier. 

3. Having your favorite students. Some teachers might disagree with me saying that it’s wrong to have teacher’s pets or, on the contrary, that you should only accept students that you get along with very well. To my mind, it often happens that you misjudge some people at first impression and after a while they might become some of your most unbelievable achievements. However, I do believe that having students that you look forward to having a class with and slightly shifting your attention to them can help you to enjoy some lessons much more. IMG_1470

4. Do not get upset after an unsuccessful class. We all have them. We all fail, we all make mistakes, get sick or just have a low energy day. Having had a lousy class doesn’t necessarily mean you are a bad teacher and convincing yourself that you stink, overanalyzing and getting yourself worked up will not help you get better. Such behavior also steals away a huge chunk of your motivation and leaves a very bitter aftertaste. Just accept the fact that such lessons happen and the only thing you can do with it is to learn from your own mistakes and move on.

5. Yoga or any other sports. It might sound a little too obvious but it is mandatory for a teacher to include physical activities into their daily routine. Major part of our work demands intensive brain functioning, making last minute decisions and coming up with new ideas. It is crucial that you have some time in a week to switch off your “thinking tool” and just concentrate on your body. tr1f5g1AN0Y

6. Pampering yourself. Stop making excuses and let other people take care of you! Have your nails done, get a pedi, find a good massage place, get a new hairstyle or buy yourself that shirt you’ve been staring at for a few months now. I know, I know. It’s too expensive, you have more important matters to spend money on or you don’t think you deserve it. But working your ass off and not being able to see why you put so much effort into a job which doesn’t allow you to feel like a princess/king from time to time is very exhausting. You need to have some proof that giving your energy and time to other people actually pays off.

7. Meditation. Not everybody is able to stay silent and motionless for an hour focusing just on their own breath. So if you are one of US you need to find an activity that helps you get rid of all thoughts and plans. Some people can achieve that by driving a car or a motorcycle, drawing, playing musical instruments, doing sports or even taking a simple walk in the nature. 6_XdF7qr_sM

8. Saying NO. This is such an enormous issue for some people that it can really influence your mood and energy-level. If for a long time you feel like a certain student brings you mostly negative emotions, slacks off, cancels last minute, causes some arguments in the classes or doesn’t show you the deserved respect, let this person go! I believe that it’s vital for us to actually see teamwork, genuine interest and, last but not least, results! If that’s not the case, then, eventually we are bound to feel empty inside as we share our energy and time and do not get anything back. Same goes for saying “no” to your friends asking you out, if you want to be antisocial now and just curl up on the couch and watch series.

9. Having at least 1 hour a day for yourself. You need to make your peace with the fact that you cannot work 24/7 or not even 10 hours a day. Others might be able to do that simply because they do not have to communicate with other people every single minute, because they do not have to control somebody else’s behavior every single minute, because they do not have to be in the center of everybody’s attention, because they do not have to improvise to solve little issues that turn up every second. Teachers do! Teachers need at least an hour to be away from the dm4-VasvwXorest of the world and not to do ANYTHING! Just relax, don’t talk to others and enjoy some free time that you cleared for yourself.

10. Sleeping well. Yeah, this is important for all human beings. But being sleep-deprived has a huge impact on your creativity, activeness and PATIENCE! If you’ve been having insomnia or have been going to bed late for the past few weeks, your level of tolerance will drop down! You will be having a hard time putting up with your students’ mistakes. You will be easily annoyed by their misbehavior. You will have troubles coming up with new ideas as your brain doesn’t function the same way if it doesn’t get enough sleep.