A burn-out story 

How does one continue in a career when the passion is gone? How does one regain the love that once existed for a very important job? 

I am a teacher. I have been in the profession for 25 years and while I have had bad days, weeks or even months in this profession,  I  can not say that I  have felt so “done” and so ineffective in the classroom. When I  started out, I  had a plan. I had planned to stay in the class for at least 15 years and be ready for an education -related job for the last 10 so that I  would never be one of those teachers who should not be teaching.  I started my plan by working on my Master’s degree  in administration.  I started, and a year in, a job opened up at the high school level that I  figured would help. In order to stay, I switched  my master’s  to Secondary English Education with plans for a doctorate in curriculum and instruction. Life happened, a divorce happened and my plan began to fall apart. I continued  to enjoy the class and decided  that it must be my calling to be in the classroom until retirement.

Life, again, happened. I found the person who would teach me what it was to live life. I remarried and I  was indescribably  happy. Even with that, I  had a year with 4 preps, difficult students and large classes. My burn-out began. Even though at the end of that year, I was exhausted and questioning  my effectiveness  in the classroom,  I returned the following school year  with a wonderful schedule and smaller classes. My hope had been restored. Unfortunately, that lasted until October when my husband of only 3 1/2 years was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma,  a rapid, devastating  cancer of the bile duct. I was in and out of classes all year. I was blessed with support from the superintendent who made it possible for me to be out when I needed it.By June, my husband  was gone. My life fell apart and things have not been the same. 

I returned to work in late July to 3 preps, larger classes and a class I had not taught in a while and had been redesigned since. Everyone kept telling get me that going back to work would be good for me. They were terribly  wrong. I  could not concentrate,  I  could not handle deadlines, I  couldn’t handle the students and I was horribly ineffective.  Again, the superintendent stepped in and sent me to a counselor. The counselor determined that if I was to make it, I  would need an additional  planning period. This was arranged for me but not without backlash.I was asked “can’t you just stay after school and get things done ?” and “Do you think this will really help?” I was mortified. I had to call the counselor to talk me down. I wanted to walk out. 

Fast forward a few months and things were so much better. I was able to handle things better, but I was still losing my passion. I was and still am, just going through the motions, showing up, completing tasks and doing it all over again the next day. Also, there are those who are saying ” it’s been long enough, what’s her problem?” As the weeks pass, I have found I no longer care. I don’t know the problem; I do know that the passion I had for teaching is gone. Completely  depleted. While I  have always been able to find my way back, I can’t this time. Now, with a 25-year investment in my career, I  need a different direction.  However, again, I  don’t know what to do. Personally,  things are much better, but professionally, I stand at the proverbial fork in the road. 

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YA Lit: Story of a Girl

KidWrite Blog

storyofagirlI’ve just read a fantastic book that I highly recommend for the high school reader in your life. Story of a Girl tells the story of Deanna Lambert, a sophomore in high school who was found in the backseat of a car with an older by when she was thirteen. The thing is, the boy was seventeen and the so-called best friend of her brother. And she and this boy, Tommy Webber, were doing more than talking. And the person who discovered them was her father, who dragged her out of the car, took her home, and hasn’t looked her in the eye since. 

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Strap in – scream your lungs out and enjoy the ride!

Teaching is a profession that never ceases to amaze me. Maybe I’m just a tad crazy ( actually one has to be to be a teacher), but when one goes from the lowest lows to he highest highs in only twenty-four hours, something is either gravely wrong or that person is a true educator.

In the last 26 years, federal and state standards and testing have taken the art out of teaching and made the job more of a scripted science project. if we use method A and Method B, then test scores will be high; but if we use method C or method D, scores will dramatically decrease. No longer is it up to the professional to observe a situation , get to know students and use our talents. Instead, we are bombarded with prescribed units and tests to teach. So, it is no wonder that we see educators leaving the profession in droves. However, if we continue to believe that teaching in an art and not a prescribed science, we persevere and continue to look for ways to create an opus that can be shared and enjoyed.

True educators see the potential in situations that seem bleak, and even though we disagree with the over-testing and prescribed units, we are still able to take those prescription and make them into our very own works of art.

So, if you are a struggling educator, ready to leave the profession, remember that artists struggle many times before a true masterpiece is achieved. Keep searching, keep observing, keep loving and keep creating. Teaching is the monster of all roller coaster rides! Strap in, throw your hands in the air and scream your hearts out- but most of all- enjoy the ride!

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Boxes

This is so true. I’m in my 26th year of teaching and I feel completely boxed in and I’m constantly trying to find a way out.

Green Ink Proofreading

I left a profession I loved a year and a half ago.  I left to save my life, because in my final months of teaching, I felt utterly boxed in.  I spent a lot of time thinking about boxes.  A little box would sound an alarm every morning at 4:55 in and I would get into a bigger box to shower.  Then I would get into my moving box and drive alongside thousands of others in their mobile boxes to get to the box that was my job, spending hours in a small box – actually called a cubicle – and a larger box – my classroom.  If I wasn’t in front of kids, I was in front of an electronic box doing planning and communicating with parents and administrators.  Lunch was even in a box; my life was in a box.

For a nation touting the need to “think…

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Dumbing Down: The Effects of Simplifying English

Tangents USA

This article was originally published in The Daily Pulp on June 9, 2014.

“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.” 

 George OrwellPolitics and the English Language

State governors and their administrations across America are collaborating with private educational firms to design and roll out new “Common Core” educational standards for K-12 schools. Similarly, the College Board, the highly powerful educational firm that controls pre-college standardized tests, is overhauling the SAT, the gateway exam for entry into college. In this short article, I want to examine one aspect of corporatized education reform: the treatment of high school-level English language and literature education, also known as ELA (English Language Arts). By focusing on a portion of…

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Accepting Life in Order to Change

Acceptance of things that cannot be changed is the first step to positive change. A truth we all need to understand. Very insightful.

The Centred Teacher

acceptanceSpiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle says that dissatisfaction is not a good starting point for changing your life. Our ego may tell us that it is but in fact it isn’t. Rather we need to find a place of acceptance of what is.

The basis for your life is the present moment. He says we must come to an acceptance of this moment as it is. If you are not friendly with life, life cannot support you.

I know that during the hardest and most stressful times of my life I have definitely been struggling against what was. It is this struggle that ultimately digs us in deeper – into the stress, the anxiety, the regret, the anger…

I have definitely experienced the truth of this:  Before we can begin to change we have to make peace with what is. Once I accepted the external circumstances I had created, my actions…

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What Students Remember Most About Teachers

A much needed message

Pursuit of a Joyful Life

Dear Young Teacher Down the Hall,

I saw you as you rushed past me in the lunch room. Urgent. In a hurry to catch a bite before the final bell would ring calling all the students back inside. I noticed that your eyes showed tension. There were faint creases in your forehead. And I asked you how your day was going and you sighed.

“Oh, fine,” you replied.

But I knew it was anything but fine. I noticed that the stress was getting to you. I could tell that the pressure was rising. And I looked at you and made an intentional decision to stop you right then and there. To ask you how things were really going. Was it that I saw in you a glimpse of myself that made me take the moment?

You told me how busy you were, how much there was to do

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Life of an Educator by Justin Tarte: 10 tips to avoid technology integration frustration

Indiana Jen

technology frustrationYou’ve heard it before, you’ve seen it before, and you’ve most likely experienced it yourself before: technology integration frustration. Change is not easy. When we talk about change, especially technology changes that take us into the wide world of the unknown, things can quickly become even more complicated.
Technology integration in schools is particularly important because kids are really branching out and utilizing technology at a much higher rate than ever before. Part of teaching and helping students to safely and appropriately use technology is recognizing that it’s happening all around us. 
Here are 10 tips to help you and your colleagues avoid technology integration frustration.

Life of an Educator by Justin Tarte: 10 tips to avoid technology integration frustration.

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It’s the small victories that count

In my 23+ years of teaching, this year ranks high in the “most challenging” category. I have found myself completely frustrated numerous occasions, rethinking my career choice and mapping my possible path out of the classroom. Because I have four different preps and teaching all levels of classes, I have convinced myself that I am a complete failure.

This past week, however, was an eye-opener! I had an epiphany!! As I continued my struggle, there were a few essays that were we’re better than normal, a few test grades that were passing,and a few responses during our Socratic circle that just blew me away! As Friday approached,I realized, that these small victories are what gives us “fuel” and the reason why we, as educators, do what we do. I struggle with “success with every student”, but in this battle, I will take the small victories!

How about it fellow teachers….am I alone in this war? I’d love some feedback.