E: Extend Your Reach

E in BURNED-IN Teacher: 

As I have read and reflected on my past blog entries, I've realized that I need to simplify my mission and my blog posts. You blog, you learn! Therefore, let's keep this blog simple starting now. Let's start with explaining each letter of the BURNED-IN Teacher Program, letter-by-letter, over the next few weeks.

And the simplicity continues with:

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What It Means:

Extending your reach is doing exactly what it says: reach out. Talk to people, without complaining. Talk about you and your feelings and what you want for yourself. Find someone who can offer SUPPORT, not a SHOULDER. Reaching out to the wrong people could mean a bitch session that ends with, "I hear you. I hate my job too. We're in this together. Can I pour you another one?"

Although it may seem therapeutic to vent to your colleagues or significant other, trust me, you're spinning your wheels. "Venting" without seeking help is right there next to the worst thing you could do when suffering from burnout: keep it inside... unless at home... crying to your (insert significant someone here)... for years. I did that. Every day. For years. I wish that I could tell you that I was either kidding or making this up for dramatic effect. I really do, but that would be a lie. The truth is, I didn't tell a whole lot of people, until it was too late and I was bitter and angry and searching for other jobs during my prep period. 

Ladies and gentlemen, once you get rid of the shame, I can tell you from experience, you will open up the door to let others in to help you find a solution. It is worth the effort that it takes to pull yourself out from under this heavy weight that is teacher burnout. 

Questions You Can Ask Yourself:

What am I really struggling with so that when I do talk to someone, I can verbalize what I need?

Does anyone even know how I feel? Is the first step voicing my feelings to someone I trust? 

Who can I talk to today that can begin to offer solutions or lead me to a place where I may find some?

Next steps:

- Chances are, if you've landed on this site, you've already come to the conclusion that you need help or that you need someone to understand you, your situation, and your feelings about it. If you've already tried talking to someone (or someones) and their advice to you is to, "just make it to summer, and then you'll feel better," and you know you need more than that, it's time to start searching somewhere else. Try other circles that you've never tried before or try the Burned-In Teacher Facebook Community , we're here for you, 24/7.

- Forgive yourself. Seriously. Stop feeling guilty about where you are in your journey and how you are feeling about it. Being who you are, where you are is part of the amazing journey that can and will go wherever you choose. It really is up to you to decide where the path will go. Own it. Be proud of it and, damn it, be EXCITED about it. This is your LIFE we are talking about here. Don't take it lightly.

- Jump onto our Burned-In Facebook Group and tell us about your journey so far, ask questions, or support another teacher. We're in this together!

Things I have used to help me along my journey of "Extending your reach":

- The book that started me on my journey out of burnout way back in 2014 was the oldie, but goodie: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephan Covey. This, along side of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do by Amy Morin is a match made in Heaven, I tell you. I'm not suggesting you read them at the same time, but if that's your thing, I'm not going to judge you. 

- Read. Watch. Learn. Search for help from articles, YouTube videos, and the opinions of strangers. They may just have that bit of advice that helps you decide what needs to begin to change to help you on your journey to be a happier, more fulfilled human being. 

Take a deep breath. We are our own heroes. You can do this. Burn on. 

 

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Amber HarperComment