Teacher burnout is a real issue in the field of education. Click here for some more information regarding teacher burnout. One way to avoid teacher burnout is to remember and focus on why you became a teacher in the first place – your purpose.
Recently, I was lucky enough to attend a two day retreat at St Joseph’s Spirituality and Education Centre with other beginning teachers. During the retreat I was able to relax and forget about my to-do lists and simply concentrate on myself and my purpose as a teacher. It was also a surprise to me to come away with a role model. The centre was established in 1887 by Mary MacKillop and I gained insight into Mary MacKillop as an inspiring teacher.
When was the last time you took the time to stop, relax and think about what kind of teacher you want to be, the teacher you are currently being and your purpose as a teacher? It is so easy to fall into the stress of everyday life, we need to make time to stop and reflect.
Since the retreat, I’ve felt a lot more relaxed, confident, happy and content. Wouldn’t you love to bottle that up? Since we haven’t got that luxury, we need to find other ways to keep centred, feel inspired and focussed on our purpose.
We can’t always go away on retreats, so we need to find something to do at a time that suits us. It could be the first few minutes when you wake up, when you are alone in your classroom before your students arrive or at the end of the day. It could be as simple as a prayer, meditation, listening to a favourite song or reading inspiring quotes – anything that inspires you as a teacher.
How do you take time to relax and reflect on your purpose as a teacher?
Who inspires you as a teacher?
I truly believe that in order to grow as professionals we need to be continually reflecting on and evaluating our teaching. By reflecting and evaluating we can think about any possible changes we could make to the lesson or unit to improve the learning for our students and ultimately be the best teachers that we can be.
Think about your programs.
- Do you have space dedicated to evaluation?
- Do you have evaluation questions?
- Do you put a lot of thought into your evaluations?
- Do you write your thoughts down?
- Do you make changes as a result of your evaluations?
Teachers should reflect and evaluate after each lesson and jot down some thoughts about what was great about the lesson and what could be improved. At the end of a unit, evaluation questions should be answered.
- Were the students engaged?
- Were the outcomes achieved by the end of the unit?
- Did the activities cater for a variety of learning styles?
- Did the activities build towards the completion of the rich task?
- Were the resources suitable?
- Did the resources help the students gain a greater understanding?
- Did the students need extra clarification/revision?
- Did the students work well in groups/individually?
- What changes/modifications could be made when programming this unit in the future?
- Was an adequate amount of time allocated for the unit?
- Were the assessment tasks effective in assessing the unit outcomes and indicators?
- Were the students challenged?
@carpenk also brought up great suggestions. At the end of a unit, the students could be included in the evaluation process. Perhaps providing the older students with a survey and a class brainstorm for the younger students about what they liked/disliked, what they learnt and what else they would like to know about the unit. Throughout the unit, students could put suggestions in an anonymous suggestion box, video record their feedback, participate in informal class discussions, comment on a blog post about the unit and much more.
Do you evaluate your lessons/units of work?
Do you have any evaluation questions you could add?
Do you include your students in the evaluation process?