Sharpening MY Saw: Looking Out for #1, So I Can Help #2 BURN IN: Part 7 of I Was Burned-Out

When I finally started to pull myself out of my second “funk” back in January, I started to do a lot of soul searching. As I started questioning my wants and needs as a person, I started thinking more selfishly. When I say that, I don’t mean that I became an egotistical jerk. I didn’t go around saying, “I’m doin' ME!” That’s not at all what I mean at all. Or do I???

Stephen Covey says in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that,

“To be effective, we must devote the time to renewing ourselves physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially. Continuous renewal allows us to synergistically increase our ability to practice each habit.”

For me, this meant spending time creating goals and making plans for MY future in many DIFFERENT areas of MY life. My personality is not one that lends itself to being happy in one spot for long. Whether it be sitting in the same place or staying within the same job or home for an extended amount of time. It was time for me to ACCEPT who I really am and realize that, although I am in a school that is allowing me to grow as a professional now, I am ready to expand my personal and professional growth in other ways. As soon as I decided that I was in control of my own destiny, my attitude improved even MORE! I am in search of what Tony Robbins calls, “CANI” the need for Constant And Never-ending Improvement.” (I began reading Awaken the Giant Within, by Anthony (Tony) Robbins in January. This is another MIND BLOWING book about how our daily decisions change our destiny!)

“Sharpening the Saw” may seem to be all about improving your skills as a teacher, a cook, a mom, etc. but actually, sharpening the saw has more to do with growing YOU, as a whole. Constantly focusing on one area of your life will only lead to burn-out, in my opinion. That’s what I believe started to lead me down the path that ultimately sunk me. (Insert all of the waves of panic and stress that consistently came from my previous workplace before, I took action.) I was thinking only about my life as a teacher. I wasn’t in a place where I imagined that I COULD do anything but teach.

When I was in a PLACE where I had SPACE to grow, that is when my mind was open to all of MY abilities. When YOU are in a place where you are allowed to ask questions, make mistakes, and truly collaborate, YOUR mind can be opened too. Again, this goes back to my VERY FIRST POST last week when I said that, although it is important that our State and administration focus on student growth, they are leaving out the most important part of that growth. If they are not allowing educators to have SPACE and OPPORTUNITY to grow, they won’t. Period. Teachers will either A. Do what I did originally and QUIT or B. Be the most miserable individuals in the building and they are the MOST IMPORTANT BRIDGE between CONTENT and KIDS!

I challenge YOU. Make a list of all of the things that are making YOU UNHAPPY. Think of all of the things that you HATE and that are BURNING YOU OUT. Do it! How many of those things do you feel are out of your control? Count them. Here’s the punchline…


You may have to get creative. You may have to put a lot of time and effort into some things and for others, it may be a simple phone call that you need to make. The MOMENT that I decided not to be the VICTIM of my own previous decisions, is when I started making changes. Some BIG, some small. Here are a list of a couple of my current goals that are SHARPENING MY SAW DAILY:

  1. I am CRAVING to connect with other professionals who are feeling BURNED-OUT or are afraid that their fire is slowly dying. I want you to be as excited to go to work as I am lately. I went from crying in my car on the way to work to thinking about my job as a catalyst for GREAT THINGS to come in my life, therefore affecting my ability to be a great teacher, employee, and co-worker.

  1. I have begun my Google Education Training! Google is one of the tools that I have used this year to seriously simplify and improve my collaboration, planning, and teaching. I was so inspired by a conference that I went to in April that I started training on my OWN! Now that is BURNED-IN!!

  1. I started THIS BLOG! I haven’t written in YEARS. This is one of the ways that I am trying to grow myself. Through sharing my journey, my triumphs and my failures I am hoping to help YOU. MY burn-outs have made me a better person, not just a better teacher. I have SO MUCH to IMPROVE and am so excited!. I have the DESIRE to improve. I can’t wait to share my wins and losses with you!
If you don’t know where to start with “Sharpening Your Saw” as a teacher, please let me know what I can do to HELP YOU. I am CRAVING to help others, like me, who have struggled or are currently struggling with HOW TO IMPROVE THEIR BEHAVIORS AND ATTITUDE in their classrooms and schools. Please email me at and tell me YOUR story and what YOU need that you are not currently getting in your life to improve your outlook. You can follow me on Twitter @burnedinteacher to see what’s up in my classroom and online as I reach my goal of becoming a GOOGLE INNOVATOR!

That’s it! That’s the LAST post of my plunge into blogging series of “I Was  Burned Out…” Although I won’t be blogging every day anymore, I am so excited about continuing to share my journey of “CANI” (Thanks, Tony!) with you weekly!