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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in burnout
Posted by on in General

It seems these days, families live so far apart. I’m sure that’s the way it is for most of us. Keeping connected takes a lot more effort than it used to.  I don’t think it is just me and my loved ones.

Screen sharing is not the same as being together in real time, although it somewhat fills the gaps.

I feel like a slacker. Lately I’ve been losing things, including house keys and my wallet, twice. Moving much too fast. Not exactly self-care. I finished helping at the preschool until September and the preschool was the first graduation. We had seven of the littles graduating and what a fun, imaginative production for all the children.

It seems like I’ve been on a treadmill lately, such a busy time of year. I looked forward to going up to Beaverton to take a much needed family-filled break.

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Posted by on in General

A difficult choice

Leaving the classroom was one of the most difficult things I've ever done. Making the decision was one of the hardest I've ever made. Not only did I have to say goodbye to my colleagues, my administrators, and the mentors who had guided me throughout my career, but I had to leave my students. I say "MY" students purposefully. Regardless of if I taught them 5 years ago, 3 years ago, or I was going to teach them next year (as most teachers know) they areand will always be "MY" students. I wasn't leaving because it was "too hard" or because I was burnt out, though. I was leaving to make a greater impact on education and to reach more students than I ever thought possible.

How it happened

I had developed, tested, and created a system in my classroom now called The Grid Method. In my high needs, urban school with 100% free and reduced lunch, and economically disadvantaged students, it was working. Students were more engaged, achievement was increasing, management was improving, and I quickly realized that I had something here that could help more teachers and more students. Colleagues had been asking how to implement the system I'd designed and so had others I shared it with. I quickly started looking for ways to spread the word and share the techniques and systems I was using to reach more students.

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Posted by on in Assessment

Teachers use the end of the year as a time for reflection and evaluation. What worked well in my class this past year? What didn’t? What lessons need to be tweaked? What progress did my students make? These are all great questions to ask and play an important role in the growth process of educators; however, most educators fall short by failing to assess their personal capacity in order to determine patterns of personal behavior and these effects on teaching. Reflect on the year by asking these personal questions:

When did I feel the most stress?  For example, many people feel stressed during December and May due to holiday parties and end of year celebrations. In the past, student research papers would typically be due in the two months because they mark the end of the semester. Now I realize that these are the worst possible months for papers that require extra time to grade. By scheduling papers to come in during November and April, I eliminate a lot of stress in my home and family life.

When did I feel the most tired during the year? I feel the most tired at the end of the first month of school and during the month of March every year. Seeing this as a pattern in my life, I am now more conscious to get extra rest during this time and not add extra activities to my calendar.

When does my family need me the most? What teachers do outside of school has an effect on what happens in the classroom. Identifying busy days and aligning classroom activities that require lower energy projects or planning ahead in order to alleviate prep work on the busy days outside of school keeps my energy up and attitude good during when I could easily be stressed.

What things brought energy to me personally this year? Seeing students grow in their writing and taking ownership of their learning gives me energy. The way that I most often observe this is through mini-conferences with students where we discuss their overall progress for the year and work through writing issues. Recognizing how much these mini-conferences fuel me is important because I can now plan these for times of the year when I am tired or feeling discouraged. Running also gives me energy, and while I am not a naturally talented athelete, spending time outdoors by myself after a long day at work gives me energy.

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Posted by on in School Culture

If you can, you do. If you can’t, you teach.


I’ve heard this before. I’ve heard it at dinner parties when friends of mine insinuate that my ‘vacations’ are nothing more than leisure time spent relaxing and that my job is nothing more than a glorified babysitter. I’ve sat through their hallow praise of how my choice to be a teacher is “so noble’. Most people don’t give a second thought as to all the little things that go into the daily grind of teaching. There are lesson plans, grading, organizing, more grading, more organizing, communications with parents, just to name a few. These actions are only the very tip of the iceberg that is teaching. It is know that 90% of an iceberg is underwater, unseen. The same can be said for teaching.

“Any warm body can do what you do”, I’ve been told to my face by a good friend. He went on to tell me that he taught one class for one semester at technical school a few years ago and that it was ‘so easy, I could do it with my eyes closed”. He went on to elaborate that he could go in to class hung over and just pass out the syllabus. He didn’t need to care if the kids showed up or learned anything. “It’s their fault if they don’t learn what I’m teaching…” I’m sure he was a great teacher whose students loved coming in to class each day.

When we think about all the little things that go into being an effective teacher, we often come up with massive lists of daily operations, breadth and depth of knowledge base and content. These lists are important and need to brought up but I’ve come to realize that content is never ‘king’ and that the best teachers obsess over one thing.

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Posted by on in UNward!



ONE: This week I learned that I don’t know anything about “rigor,” and apparently I’m not alone. (I would normally say, "I don't know jack about rigor," but I'm really trying to be professional here.)

When Barbara Blackburn closed her interview with Vicki Davis by saying that there is a broad “lack of understanding of what rigor is” among educators, I was surprised. How could this possibly be in the wake of all the vigorous discussions about rigor in education today?  I thought, hmmm Barbara should probably brace for some pushback on this one. As it turned out her episode, Three Myths About Rigor: What It Is, What It’s Not, What It Looks Like in the Classroom was the most popular segment on BAM Radio this week.  The only challenge I did see was a provocative tweet from Lori Lalama, @techeducator1, accompanied by the following definition:


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