Ep 4: Teacher Burnout
Updated: Jan 2
My first year teaching, I stopped drinking water because my students didn't have the language to ask for water between bells. My dentist had me on a special mouthwash for dry mouth.
I know we all have stories about what pushed us to the brink. The story above actually only shows how tough my first year was. But really what did it was being threatened by some of my ESL students who didn't like the grade I gave them and then the administration took their side. I didn't feel safe at work any more. This is really what made me take a step back.
I had endured a lot, but regardless of lack of administration support, lack of student motivation, even carrying the trauma of my students' lives on my shoulders, it was this situation that caused me to reevaluate why I was in this profession. I still knew I couldn't teach native speakers, but this felt personal.
It took getting into a different district to remember, not all students respond that way to bad grades and I still had what it took to revitalize a district's ESL department, even if the district was in an extremely remote area.
In this episode, I mostly analyze one aspect of burnout: the important of making a list of specific needs for your career that match your personality to continue being effective in your field. In all honesty, that episode could have continued forever and when I published it, it was with a sort of good riddance. But there was also a feeling of victory; I'm not in that place any more.
I'm looking forward to continuing this podcast with the topics coming up: ESL parent-teacher conferences, the importance of The Buddy System in ESL, and examining some side projects ESL teachers have come up with (some lucrative, some not) to reinvigorate their passion in ESL/teaching/doing what we do again!
Taking issues I've had in the profession and one by one talking with people and resolving them to myself. This is what drives me.
What drives you?