E: Extend Your Reach
E in BURNED-IN Teacher:
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:
How do you spend your time outside of school?
How are you currently extending your reach?
How are you currently extending your possibilities?
Who are you going to allow to influence your possibilities?
Are you busy for the sake of being busy? - Also, not badge-worthy.
- Choose ways to extend your reach by paying attention to how little you’ve been paying attention to your life outside of being a teacher.
- 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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