That same student who struggled to trust yet another adult who could let them down.
That same student who lashed out repeatedly, kicking and screaming when feeling overwhelmed.
Academic progress is but one piece of the puzzle. We are detectives, sifting through interests and motivations, searching for the clues to support our students’ lifelong love of learning. We keep searching for ways to support their social-emotional progress; we build up their resilience, guide them through problem-solving, and demonstrate the rewarding effect of genuine kindness. All of it is embedded into our approach and woven through our delivery of curriculum. We have the opportunity to leave students with a memory of a teacher who truly believed in everything that they could achieve, as well as everything that they could one day succeed in if they believed it too.
Quotes from the road:
If you’re looking for examples of verbal red flags, here are a few. I can still hear myself learning and re-learning the lesson of burnout in my first five years of teaching. The determination to work a little harder, push through a little longer, and stretch my limits. We burn through all of our spare time (afternoons, nights, weekends) and risk becoming completely consumed by the flames of passion that we feel for teaching. It reduces our energy to nothing but a pile of ash. You are not alone if you have fallen into this pattern of thinking. It is continuing to crop up across both states (SA and VIC), with specific language being echoed by the masses.
“It takes a lot of effort to make something appear effortless.”
Imagine if the public could understand the scope of intentional and incidental learning that comes with working inside a classroom. If anything, our capacity to love our students more than the curriculum, and be endlessly questioning whether we are doing enough. We find ourselves trapped on a weekly basis, between fighting off teacher guilt to do more and advocating for our wellbeing to do less.
I’ll say it once, and I’ll say it a million times if needed:
And that’s hard, because this idea is so deeply ingrained in society’s belief of what makes a good teacher. Look back at the historical rules for teachers in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Educators were forced to live a life without romance or marriage, childless, solely dedicated to their students, sacrificing their personal wants and needs.
My best advice is to regularly take the time to imagine that you are talking to a person who you love and care about; imagine that they are making the same repeated sacrifices of time and energy. You can see that they are burning quickly through the candle at both ends.
Would you allow this to keep happening?
Would you watch as they burned out, or would you step in?
Start stepping in for yourself by finding the school that cares if you're burning out.