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Helping colleagues with teacher-burnout

Teacher training and Development

Helping colleagues with teacher-burnout


Last week’s #ELTchat focused on teacher burn-out and here is the summary contributed by Priscilla Santos @teacher_prix on Twitter! Many thanks, Priscilla:-)

#ELTchat Summary

March 9, 2011.

Image used with the kind permision of F. Michael Kloran from http://www.myenglishimages.com/Home.html

How can we best help burnt-out colleagues? How do we help them get their enthusiasm back and encourage sharing and support?

The chat was kicked off by @rliberni dropping the chat topic question:
How can we avoid teacher burnout?
A number of suggestions were listed by chatters; the most recurrent were:

  • Being aware of it and keeping and eye open;
  • Having a PLN to vent with;
  • Doing capoeira;
  • Taking sometime for yourself;
  • Eating right;
  • Exercising;
  • Making a fool of yourself;
  • Getting a good night’s sleep;
  • Tweeting;
  • Attending conferences;
  • Sharing (ideas, feelings…);
  • Seeing a therapist;
  • Changing teaching topics (e.g.: from teaching General English to teaching Exams);
  • PD.

Although the symptoms of burnout were extensively brainstormed most of them seemed to end up affecting two distinct, though co-dependent, areas:

  • Emotional:
    • Boredom;
    • Irritability;
    • Mood swings;
    • Lack of enthusiasm;
    • Lack of motivation.
  • Professional:
    • Teaching the same content too many times;
    • Lack of creativity;
    • Unplanned lessons;
    • Having to do too much paperwork;
    • Unhealthy competition;
    • PD.

Another issue raised was concerning the actions to be taken by Institutes, schools, DOS and coordinators towards the problem. Chatters raised ideas and gave suggestions, such as:

  • Non-teaching related opportunities for socializing;
  • Organize weekend trips 2 or 3 times a year;
  • Praise and support teachers;
  • Acknowledge accomplishments;
  • Provide proper training and guidance;
  • Encourage action research groups;
  • Blended learning (3 days of F2F lessons and 2 distance)
  • Motivate!

The good side of it is that some actions have already been put into practice:
@CeciELT: “My school got us quick massage therapists in the staff room for 2 days in our craziest week last semester.”
It was also discussed that schools should be run by educators who have management skills, so as to understand and see eye to eye with teachers’ opinions and needs.
Some chatters also shared their experiences and feelings:

  • @waykatewit:I myself suffered from burnout a few years ago. One year ago -back to life.”
  • @annapires: “One thing that worries me abt burnout is when it leads to loss of enthusiasm. We see that a lot in state school teaching here”.
  • @naomishema: “Seriously, participating in #30goals , caused me to look at my work from a different angle, find re-energizing, despite being work.”
  • @Fuertesun: “I see a lot of tchrs off work in the state system here”.

I believe some tweets need to be read and re-read a number of times as they mean much more than 140 characters – I chose a few; the list is long, though:

  • @DinaDobrou: “So far it all comes down to ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’”.
  • @dejongdd: “@Marisa_C Back from burnout? Had to change attitude toward circumstances. Can’t change ‘em, can only change the way I look at ‘em.”
  • @evmaiden: “Might boil down to some basic more basic elements: feeling supported, valued, having a voice in decisions”.
  • @ShellTerrell: “A little late but the support from educators online really has helped me with burn-out! I think PLNs a must for educators”.
  • @davymmck: “I wish I had more time for twitter. 38 contact hours weekly doesn’t leave much time for anything. Burnout is a way of life”.
  • @ShellTerrell: “Also believe we need to get out of mentality of being constant miracle workers & being superheroes like media tries to urge us 2 do”.

During the chat some links were shared:

In the end all chatters agreed and retweeted @rliberni’s conclusion:

“So, it’s official! Twitter prevents burnout! Cheap and very effective. #eltchat

by Priscilla Santos.



2 Responses

  1. Great summary, Priscilla and many thanks.
    You should start your own blog!!!! I hope seeing your post up here will inspire you to do that.

  2. What Marisa said!
    Excellent summary =)

Comments are closed.