I’ve always felt really lucky that, unlike many, I’ve known what I wanted to be when I grew up for all of my adulthood life. Teaching is absolutely my vocation, and I can’t imagine doing any other job. Moreover, I’ve been lucky enough to land in a school I can see myself teaching in for the rest of my career.
That doesn’t mean I don’t get burned out, and this year, I came fairly close, due to a confluence of personal and professional events. It was a tough year all the way, and while I’ve got lots of concrete tasks on my to-do list for the summer, one of the more abstract ones I’ve been thinking about is how to start the year fresh and vigorous, ready to embrace whatever might come.
How to avoid teacher burnout? First, I’ve got several new units this year that I’m thrilled to be planning and extremely curious to see how they run in the actual classroom. I’ve got at least one day-long professional development workshop lined up, and I know I will continue to reach out to other colleagues and search for fresh ways to teach and inspire. My GSA president has a lot of ideas for the upcoming year, and I’ve got another wonderful student leader in the student fine arts group I also co-sponsor. Professionally, I think I’ve got it covered.
Personally, I know I’ve got to set better limits, better boundaries, between my work time and my family time, and need to be more determined about carving out personal time. This summer I’ve had a lot of fun playing Just Dance for 30-40 minutes worth of fun cardio (going to treat myself to the second or third edition once the school year begins), and spending lots of time in the pool. I know I’ve got to make being active regularly a priority this year. I want to blog more regularly and work on some longer pieces I’ve been turning over and over in my mind.
One other challenge I’ve identified is that, as an introvert, I often feel tapped out on my energies for interacting with other people by the end of the school day, and certainly by the end of the school week. But sitting on my dear friend’s couch and catching up, chatting poolside with another friend I’ve know for so long, or walking in the park with yet another friend and her sweet toddler, are the kinds of interactions that I need to keep me feeling connected and supported, outside of being a mother and teacher and wife. Short version: I have been so grateful to get to spend time with my friends this summer, and I need to make sure to do that more often during the school year.