Saturday, April 7, 2007

Teacher Burnout

I read an interesting article about teacher burnout the other day and although I knew this term for a long time, I never realized that I might be suffering from it myself, lately.
When I started teaching, about 15 years ago, I was very enthusiastic, I made lesson plans, I studied new books, and everything was so new and so exciting to me. Unfortunately, then, not many people wanted to learn German. So my problem was that I didn’t have enough students to work with.
So, I changed directions. No, no, I would never leave teaching. I just changed the subject. I studied EFL. That was definitely more interesting. I just loved the fact that the EFL methodology was so developed in comparison to German “traditional” teaching. I had the pleasure of meeting some very interesting teacher trainers, like Olha Madylus, who really inspired me and showed me a new way of doing my job.
Everything I had learned, I also tried adapting it in my German teaching, which I had not quit. And everything used to go ok.
I tried using technology, games, songs, field trips, anything to motivate my students in both languages. And it worked. They were really learning.
But somewhere on the way, something happened. I started to get tired. All this demands a lot of work, a lot of time.
Yes, most the children were happy and motivated, but…
- Some parents do not like stuff that is not book or exam-oriented.
- Some students do not realize the need of studying and want to do only the fun stuff
- My work is not being appreciated!
- I do not get paid well enough – sometimes I have to pay from my own pocket for the
projects I organize
- Teachers in the private sector in Greece are not respected. Frontesterio-owners replace us very easily in order to save money…
- The wages are so low, you can hardly make a living
- Language learning in Greece has to do with passing exams only and this causes a lot of stress (we are good teachers only if students get their certificates according to our bosses)

So yes, after all this and some problems in my personal life, I feel that my teaching is not as good as it used to be.
So, what is the solution to my problem?
According to the article I’ve read
, I have to relax, take a break, find another job or change fields…
Unfortunately, you can do all this, only if you can afford to.
In my case… I will definitely take a break this summer! I just can’t wait!!


teacher dude said...

What you say is so true, Theodora. The worse thing about the obsession with exam pass rates is that it leads to people who have a worthless piece of paper that signifies little more than their ability to well in exams.

Take a break and recharge those batteries

Claudia Ceraso said...

What a complete picture for the current teaching scenario. Things are not too different elsewhere.

I second Dude's advice. Take that break!