Can you believe we’re already into the month of August? For me, August means the end of spending all day in the sun, wrapping up the last of my summer reading list, and preparing myself for the inevitable dip in my bank account as I start to buy books for my upcoming classes. I’ve enjoyed my summer, and the thought of going back for another year of school seems especially daunting as I enter my senior year. How am I going to keep from getting burned out? How can I make sure my education is still exciting and valuable? These thoughts led me to ask myself how I can implement these techniques to avoid teacher burnout. Here are some ways I try to keep myself sane during the school year, and how these methods will help me as I go on to become a teacher.
· Be involved. Some of my greatest experiences at BYU have come from activities that took place outside the classroom. My involvement in intramurals, BYU music groups, and even with members of my ward have helped me make new friends and have life-changing opportunities. Similarly, some of my favorite teachers in high school went beyond simply teaching all day; they supported students by going to athletic events or music concerts. As a student, I appreciated seeing them there, and I look forward to the chance of seeing my students achieve something great outside of the classroom.
· Find ways to enhance your education. After going to several lectures, meetings, and International Cinema screenings in hopes of getting extra credit, I realized I actually love the opportunity to add to things I am learning in the classroom. Teachers have the same opportunity to supplement what they’ve learned by going to seminars and conferences.
· Don’t underestimate the power of teamwork. Sometimes I like studying on my own—it’s helpful to be in a quiet space with my own thoughts. Other times, however, studying with groups is a great chance to discuss ideas and hear different opinions from different sides. I always feel I’ve come away with greater understanding when I study with people. As a teacher, I hope I can communicate with other teachers in my department and in the whole school to gain a better understanding of what my students need. Maybe their ideas will give me the variation I need to keep myself from going crazy from monotony.
· Have a stress-free zone. As much as I love spending hours in the library completing my assignments, I do love the feeling of coming home and relaxing. While I’ve been at BYU, I’ve tried to make sure I do all my homework on campus so when I come home, it can be a stress-free zone. I can imagine I’ll try to do the same thing as a teacher. That way, when I’m home, I can focus on doing the things I love to do and can leave all my stress in the classroom. I’m a huge believer in compartmentalization, and I think keeping different facets of your life separate can be a huge stress-reliever.
While I am by no means an expert on how to avoid teacher burn-out, my 16+ years as a student have given me the skills I need to keep my sanity during the school year. I’m hoping if I can apply these as a teacher as well, I can keep strong during the year and make it to another summer vacation.
What are some way you avoid getting burned out during the year?