Teaching is hard. It has always been hard, but recently it has been getting undeniably harder. Many of us are getting daily reminders of just how much education costs and how much it is perceived to be worth. But here is the bottom line, times are tough all over and we are either going to have to learn to live the new realities of teaching in a public school or we will have to quit. I don’t want to quit (at least today), because when all of the vitriol and bureaucracy is stripped away I still love working with kids. I love that moment that we’ve all had when we are explaining something to a student and the look on their face changes, and you know that they’ve got it. Lately these moments have either been harder to create or harder to see. One of the things that has really helped me deal with the daily frustrations of the public school and brought me back to the reasons why I wanted to be an educator in the first place is teaching outside of the classroom. Let me explain. Even though extra-curricular activities have been trimmed all over the place and there seems to be less and less opportunity for students to learn beyond the school hours, those opportunities still exist. Interacting with young people in an environment that is not the classroom can be really rewarding for both the teacher and the students. I have found that I get to learn a great deal more about and from a student in these moments outside the bells. So if you are feeling burned out, I have found that one possible cure is to get involved in extracurricular activities. Volunteer to be a timer at a track meet or follow a script at play practice, chaperone the school dance. You’ll find that the connections you make at these events will continue into the classroom and enrich your time spent at the school.
Dealing With Burnout: Teach Outside the Bell