Your Questions About Turning Burned-Out Into Burned-In ANSWERED
Don't Get Stuck on the BURNED-OUT Escalator:
3 Things You Can Do RIGHT NOW To START Burning IN
I am so EXCITED about all of the email responses that I received this week regarding becoming a teacher that LOVES going to work again. Some teachers have been teaching for 20+ years and others JUST GRADUATED and are already terrified about what lies ahead next fall.
Most questions and comments centered around a single topic: WHERE TO START.
My friends, my answer to you is JUST. START.
TAKING ACTION and taking control over your future as an educator is 100% up to YOU. You can have a terrible principal, an even worse assistant principal, colleagues that want to drag you down with them, and students that believe their calling in life is to make you miserable and all you have to do is make a simple decision: become the teacher you never wanted to be or beat the status quo.
IT'S AS SIMPLE AS GETTING OFF THAT ESCALATOR. Watch the video below to see what I am talking about.
I LOVE this video. I have shown it for years; to my colleagues as a team leader when we were trying something new within our grade level and even to my 3rd graders at the beginning of the year as they were learning how to be proactive and solve their own problems.
This video encompasses everything about becoming BURNED-IN. My friends, it is all up to you to love your life as a teacher again. No one can change your attitude but you.
However, if you just can't fathom where to start in your quest to get out of the hole you have sunk yourself into, here are 3 tips to launch you out of that hole and into orbit:
1. Make a list. Check it twice.
First, I challenge you to make two lists. One of things you HATE, I mean down right DETEST, about your life at school right now. Go ahead. Do it now.
Then, highlight all of the things within your control. I've said it before, you can control most if not all of the problems that you have in your teaching life, so I really want you to focus on the big hates to even the smallest of annoyances.
Finally, make another list of these things you hate in number order of what you can control at this very minute or tomorrow morning to what may take a few weeks, months, or years to change.
For example, you may hate standardized testing most of all. You know you can't stop it, and it makes you cry thinking about it. You can't stand watching these future leaders and innovators being subjected to such patronization as a bubble exam for hours on end. So maybe you should think about transferring to Kindergarten or 1st grade, where the kiddos aren't tested so heavily. Email your principal or other principals within your district tomorrow and let them know that you are interested in making a grade-level change, should one come about. This change could take a year or two, so it should go on the bottom. On the other hand, maybe things in your room just don't flow, layout wise, the way that you wish they would. So, put that on the top of the list of things you can do this week!
Now, get another piece of paper or create a timeline on your computer. TO THE MINUTE, I want to look at how you are spending time in your school on a typical day. I'm talking from the moment you walk in the door in the morning, to when you leave at night.
Where do you spend your lunch hour?
When do you take your kids to the bathroom?
What do you spend your time doing before school starts, during your prep, and after the kids leave every day?
Again, I'm going to go back to that list that you made. What subjects or time blocks do you dread each day? What can you do to TAKE ACTION and change how you are spending your time so that you are excited about your day, instead of uninspired? Are you wasting your time in the teacher's lounge during lunch, complaining about your principal or students?
Visualize what your IDEAL day would look like with your kids. What do you WISH you could get done at school? What are things that you would love to work into your day, but just haven't done? What can you take out of your day that is monotonous to you? Chances are, if you are bored by it, so are your students.
3. Try, Fail and Try Again.
Tomorrow, go to school. Close your door. Shhhhhhh....this is where the real fun begins...Try some of those things you've been longing to do. Try. You will probably fail. But TRY AGAIN. I beg you! Try your DAMDEST to make changes in your space: Your classroom. You don't have to tell anyone. Try everything. The only limit is YOU.
And, my friend, if you are working in a building that finds out that you are trying some things and they treat you like you just committed a capital murder in the cafeteria, it may be time for you to TRY looking for a different place to become more burned-in.
Bottom line. Get. Off. That. Escalator. Now.
YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR TEACHING DESTINY.
I can't wait to hear more questions this week as the school year winds down and as more and more future educators are entering the field.
Leave a comment below about what you are going to try TOMORROW. Email me your lists! I want to see your starting-off points! Tell me your triumphs and failures at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am here for YOU! Also, follow me on Twitter @burnedinteacher, to see what I am using to keep myself burned-in!