The school year has ended and even though the next weeks may include vacation, it's never too early to think about next year. What worked? What didn't work last year? If you could, what would you do differently next year? We need the rest we are given this summer, but there are reasons we are so tired that we can better control for next year.
Those burdensome rocks we pick up along our way weigh us down. We become desperate for rest early in our careers because we're carrying more than we should. In 2003a NCE survey estimated that teachers reach burnout in an unbelievable and disturbing two and a half years! New teachers don't stay long enough to really know what they're doing. In my experience, the first year was full of excitement but also trepidation. The second year was familiar, but I was still working out the bugs of curriculum and teaching strategies. The third year was the charm! Too many teachers don't make it to the third year. Why? Disillusionment and an overwhelming workload chase them out the door.
There are many responsibilities you can't escape as a teacher, but you can leave some things at the wayside, both physically and philosophically.
- Love students without becoming their parents. Be more like a grandparent who can love students when they're with them but give them back to the parents at the end of the day.
- Don't say "yes" to extra duties unless you have honestly considered the impact they will have on your students, planning time, energy level, and family time.
- Become a learner of your students and not of the state test.
- Plan now or pay later.
- Help a teacher in need now before his problem grows and affects others later.
- Simplify, simplify, simplify! Look for ways to streamline your teaching day.
Your job is to do everything heartily as unto the Lord - unto the Lord, not unto your principal. If you focus on pleasing the Lord with the work of your hands, you'll please man (your principal, parents, and students) as well. The burden of pleasing the Lord is infinitely lighter than trying to please man.