Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Writing Wednesday: Teacher Burnout

Over my lunch hour today I watched a video from John Green:

While I thought the video was great overall, there was a part at the end that really made me stop and think. 

John says his brother Hank talks about the need to diversify your identity. In this case, meaning that John isn't only a YouTuber, he's a husband, dad, writer, etc. That if you don't look at the bigger picture, everything can become about work. John says that no career can healthfully support all of our identity.

I feel I was in danger of this trap several years ago. I taught and, as is the case for most teachers, I was always working more than eight hours a day. When I wasn't teaching, I was writing about teaching, presenting about teaching, or reading books to share with my students. My brain was constantly working on how I could become a better educator. 

It was too much.

Teaching will always be a job bigger than the time we have to complete it. There is never a day I look around my classroom and think that I'm all caught up. I'm always analyzing what I did in a day, what worked, and what could have gone better. 

I never stop thinking about the kids.

What's changed is that I've added in time for myself. I prioritize my family. While I still read books for my students - my latest favorite is The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake - the majority of my reading is for me. I write still for reflection on the classroom here, but most of the time I write it is on the romance series I'm creating.

Teaching is not my sole identity. 

I'm trying hard to put myself first, though I fail at that each time. But now, my family is typically in first and I'm second or third, depending on the day.

It's a work in progress.

So I just wanted to draft this post as I sit in my classroom at lunchtime with eleven days left in the school year. You teachers that are dragging to the end of the school year, I see you. Take time for yourself this summer. And remember to strive for a diversified identity as we move forward. 

You deserve it. We all do.