I'm just going to come out and say it: I'm burnt out.
I didn't realize I was burning out. I only noticed when it was too late. I've always been the type of teacher who's tired at the end of the school year because I've given my all -- every day -- for the past nine months. I've learned to master that type of tired when May and June roll around. However, being burnt out is something completely different. It is something that needs to be caught as soon as possible so that steps can be taken to put the frazzled teacher back in a good place. In this series of posts, I'm going to share with you the different ways to identify, deal with and prevent Teacher Burnout for you and your staff.
I know a vacation is coming when stacks of books next to my bed start growing. I've started to notice that building those stacks makes the final weeks of the year easier -- the visual reminder of the upcoming break.
Today, on Teacher Appreciation Day, I want to send a word of thanks to a group of devoted individuals who, apart from my parents, have done the most to shape my life -- my teachers. From kindergarten to college, certain teachers engaged my curiosity and motivated me to learn. While I was not the best student, their efforts left a lasting impact.
I co-authored this commentary with Ken Kay, the chief executive officer of EdLeader21, a network of school and district leaders based in Tucson, Ariz. He was the founding president of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. It originally appeared on EdWeek Online on March 22, 2013.
In my last post, I promised readers a special post on a topic of great importance to me. Fighting cynicism is that topic. It is one of the most important issues for me and needs to be one of the most important goals for all schools. Cynicism can rot out a school the way termites rot out a wooden home. A cynic is someone who has given up hope that things can better. They are not realists or skeptics, who often ask hard questions or demonstrate care before accepting the first new thing that comes along. Cynicism is a plague that kills dreams. It sucks the life out of teachers and robs students of hope. No student deserves to have a teacher who has given up hope.
Hold on there, Randy Turner. Why are you issuing a, "Warning to Young People: Don't Become a Teacher"? Who are you to declare such a cautionary injunction? I'm annoyed by your lack of nuance, by the suggestion that we walk away from public schools and dissuade young people from exploring the path of teaching. Your article struck a nerve and I have to respond.
Like many of us committed to public education, I'm constantly searching for what's working and what can be replicated. This year I've discovered two essential ingredients for any successful school system to be effective. Think of these ingredients as the yeast and flour of any kind of bread -- obvious and essential -- and they must be used in combination with each other. I'll name these two staples as "The Destination" and "The Road Map."
I'm going to talk about a tough subject today, one that I'm sure might set off some folks. But it's a snapshot from a school site reality that is not ideal. I'm going to talk about race, culture, and educational opportunities. Scary topics, right?