Jun 17, 2023

Hacking Teacher Burnout Summer Book Study Series: Harnessing the Power of Self-Awareness for Teachers 

When I think back to when I was struggling the most with burnout, self-awareness (or really the lack-there-of) was a huge contributing factor to what was keeping me stuck.  I just couldn’t see my role in situations…I could only see myself as “the victim”.  How wrong I was!  Self-Awareness, for teachers deep in burnout, is one of the most powerful tools to free yourself from the grasp of burnout. 

Welcome to episode 188 of the Burned-In Teacher Podcast. In today's episode, we are going to be diving into our third meeting of the Hacking Teacher Burnout Summer Book Study Series! We're diving into Hack #2, “Understand Your Teacher Brand”, and we’re going to awaken your self-awareness and build a teacher brand that you can be proud of.

Your beliefs become your thoughts, 

Your thoughts become your words, 

Your words become your actions, 

Your actions become your habits, 

Your habits become your values, 

Your values become your DESTINY. 

~ Mahatma Gandhi

I have a picture of myself sitting at my desk that my mother-in-law took back in 2007. I was wearing a Beatles shirt and my hair was in pigtails. I was 24 years old when that picture was taken, and when I look at this picture I think, Oh girl, you have no idea what's in store for you, you have SO MUCH to learn. But at that point, I didn't think that I did. 

In a recent episode, I interviewed David Schmittou and we talked about our egos and we talked about our lack of seeking and self-awareness. I have learned that self-awareness is one of the most important tools that we can have in our tool belts when we are struggling. I truly believe that one reason that I struggled so much is that I had ZERO self-awareness and I put myself in many situations where I showed that I didn't want to have any self-awareness because I “knew everything”. 

That was so unfortunate, but now I can look back and say that was then, this is now, and I've learned from those situations and I'm growing. I know that no matter how long I teach in this profession, I will never have all the answers and I will never be able to say I know exactly what to do all the time. Let me tell you, there have been some THINGS that have happened this school year, but I would say that this has been one of my best school years ever. I was just telling my teaching partner that I cannot believe this year is over! It has FLOWN by and I have learned so much. There were so many times this year that I didn’t know what to do, and although it was really hard at the moment, I remember that I'm still learning and I'm still willing to learn. My hope is that you can look back on your school year and reflect and think about how much you've learned and grown. 

On pages 54 through 58 there is a list of actions that you can take. Which actions are you going to take? Choose three action items that you want complete and write them in your Hacking Teacher Burnout Book Study Guide, and check them off as you complete them. What did you get to check it off? 

At the end of each episode of the Hacking Teacher Burnout Summer Book Study Series, I encourage you to read the following chapter and to start to take some ACTION. This includes reflecting in the Hacking Teacher Burnout Book Study Guide because it’s a way to keep you accountable. 

And if you’ve said about yourself, I never finish what I start, that is a reference to your Teacher Brand, which we talk about in this chapter.  What you say out loud about yourself becomes your truth, so if you tell yourself that you start things you never finish, that will become true. But if you tell yourself, I don't do that anymore. When I start things, I finished them! Then that will become true. Now, that doesn't mean it's going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it.

In the “Blueprint for Full Implementation”, suggest three action steps that you can take.

#1: Create your own personal mission statement. I invite you to share your personal mission statement inside the Burned-In Teacher Podcast Facebook Community. Check out page 59 for directions on how to write yours, or check out my Personal Mission Statement Workbook in my Teachers Pay Teachers store for more detailed instructions and guidance. 

#2: Notice and change your self-talk. After reading this section and learning about the Agents of Same, what are the stories that you are telling yourself that are keeping you stuck?  When I think back to 2014, there were so many negative stories I was telling myself and a lot of them were the Agents of Same talking that were keeping me stuck. It wasn't until 2015 that I started to learn that there are other ways of thinking, but this did not come naturally to me. I've always victimized myself, even in late elementary school through high school. It wasn't until I was pregnant with our oldest daughter that I actually started to take responsibility for my life. 

What Agents of Change will you use to help you to combat your Agents of Same? You can refer to page 62 to help you answer that question, or you can check out my Build Your Positive Self-Talk Guide in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. 

#3: Reflect on your habits.  We will talk more about habits in Hack #4, but this is really something to sit and ponder. Are your habits keeping you stuck? Are they dragging you down? Are they pushing you forward? 

#4: Identify the people that drag you down. These people are just as important to know as the people who build you up.

#5: Brainstorm a list of people you could say are your top five influencers. If we're going to change your life, if we're going to change the way that you feel about your career, you got to improve your “circle”. You have to change the people that you're spending the most time with. This is not judgmental and this is not snobby, this is you doing what's best for YOU. Find people that are going to help you GROW. These could be people you intentionally surround yourself with in real life like people whose podcasts you listen to - like mine - or other people, or people who you follow on Instagram or other forms of social media. 

That just about wraps up this episode, but before we end, I want to leave you with one of the “Over Coming Pushback” scenarios from this chapter. I'm LOVING reading these to you, so here we go!

Trying to change is just a phase. People often make resolutions in January that quickly become fad goals, swept under the rug as an afterthought by the beginning of February. But this isn't a resolution; this is your BRAND. You carry it with you everywhere you go. When your students or colleagues look at you with a “That's cute”, when you tell them that you're working on your teacher brand, hold your head up high, and call on your favorite Agent of Change. Maybe it's Capable Carry, and say, “I'm capable, and I'm worthy of changing my brand. I'm capable, and I'm worthy of changing how I feel. I'm capable and worthy of changing my life.” (p. 72)

My friend, listen, YOU are the only one who can stop you. Ultimately, anybody can have any opinion that they want about anything that you've done in the past or anything that you do in the future, but it does not matter. I know that I'm speaking to an audience of people pleasers, who care what other people think and you've lost yourself. From what we talked about in this chapter, my hope is that you found even a small sliver of who you used to be and who you want to become. 

So that's all for this book club meeting! I would love to see you next week where we are going to dive into Hack #3: Reflect on Your Challenges. Read pages 77 through 99 and let us know what's resonating with you, what questions you have, what wins you had, and the realizations that you’ve had in the Facebook Community. Also, post pictures in the Facebook Community or out on social media - just be sure to tag me at @burnedinteacher - because I want to see what you're doing! I can't wait for our next meeting! 

Call to Action: Things You Can Do Tomorrow 

  1. Craft your Personal Mission Statement.  Refer to page 59 in Hacking Teacher Burnout or get my Personal Mission Statement Workbook in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!
  2. Choose your Agents of Change!  Check out page 62 in Hacking Teacher Burnout for more information.
  3. Brainstorm a list of people you could say are your top five influencers


Resources Mentioned in This Episode 






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