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Lesson Plans

Re: teacher burn out

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Maggie White (mwhite)
Thu, 18 Nov 1999 21:54:29 -0700

> Brenda Neel wrote:
> This is my 15th year of teaching and I think I have teacher
> burn out. Any suggestions on what to do?

Wow, Brenda, I was all set with some suggestions when I read your
next message. What a ridiculous schedule! Are you in a really
small school and have to do it all? Or someone in the counseling
office assumes you can do it all? Your first step is to try to
unload some of that stuff. Would printing it out and handing it
to the schedulers help them see how unrealistic it is? Surely no
other teacher in your school is expected to mix subjects and
grades that way!

I'm in my 16th year. To keep myself fresh, I make a point of
trying just one new thing each year. It can be a big thing, like
a whole new unit or medium, or something little, like a different
way to do block prints. Making just one change makes it less
overwhelming, and I can put time and energy into researching,
gathering resources, planning... Sometimes I'll do more than
one, but only if I believe I can pull it off successfully.

With that schedule, do you have _any_ time for yourself or
family? You need to get a divorce from your job and just learn
to let go of some of it; I know there are teachers Out There who
probably spend a lot of time making fancy labels for their
student displays, or cutting mats for them, or arranging perfect
bulletin boards that the students pay little attention to. Let
go! That stuff doesn't really matter! Have some students do
that stuff if they can do it without your having to supervise
closely (and add to your load). Go home earlier and take a walk,
or cook something fun, or work on your own art.

With regards to paperwork, I do a kind of triage to decide which
to do first. The things that have the most direct impact on the
students gets done first (grades or attendance notices to
parents). Bureaucratic stuff where you just get the feeling
"they" are trying to keep you busy goes to the bottom of the

Another thing that really keeps me motivated is attending the
NAEA convention each year. I come back so jazzed and excited I
can hardly wait for the next school year. If your school won't
pay for it, try going halfsies with them and write off what you
pay on your taxes. If that won't work either, try a state
conference. Or do something arty that's not education related: a
class for your own benefit, or forming a group of other art
teachers and/or artists to meet once a month.

Oops, this is pretty long. Hope this helps!


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