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!!

2 comments:

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!