Cutting Yourself Some Slack

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the reality of teacher burnout. It’s a hot topic, I know. I ended up getting into quite a long conversation on Twitter about it with Mandy Froehlich (@froehlichm) of Divergent EDU about it.

My number one piece of advice for teachers who feel behind the eight ball, who feel underwater, like they are drowning under an ocean of papers to mark, lessons to plan, meetings to make: create boundaries.

But how do I do that?

Well, I’m glad you asked. One concrete step you can take is to build boundaries around when you work. That’s why I posted an article about creating a shutdown ritual. The goal is to signal the end of your working day by performing a routine, a ritual, designed to help you disconnect.

On a less concrete note, however, I want to encourage all teachers to cut yourself some slack. Consider this formula

My Passion + A Mountain of Work + A Desire to Be Awesome = Burnout

All of those items on the left side of the equation are good. We all want to follow our passions. When we do, we don't mind that we have a mountain of work. Since we desire to be awesome AND we love the work, we'll tackle it. That's where burnout comes in. The left side of the equation isn't bad, but, when mixed together, these elements become quite toxic.

Often, the desire to be awesome is the key here. We want to do and be our best. Sometimes, however, we have to setup a wall between ourselves and the work that we do. We need to go home and veg out in front of some playoff baseball (which I’m doing as I write this) or spend time with friends and family.

I promise you: when you wake up tomorrow, your work will still be there. Tackle it then when you’re fresh and ready.

Also, check out my article about shutdown rituals below.

This Week on ROOTED

Creating a Shutdown Ritual
No matter how much I work today, there will still be more to do tomorrow. So, I created a shutdown ritual to close out today and setup for success tomorrow.

From Around the Web

This week’s posts focus largely on the need to humanize both teachers and students. Big surprise, right?!?! I do want to call your attention to the final post on the list: Cal Newport’s discussion of planning your day. One thing to think about as you read that post: If you try it, make sure you cut yourself some slack. (Noticing a theme?) Sometimes, the day gets away from us. That’s okay. The work will still be there tomorrow!

Happy reading!

Are Teachers Ok? No, and Toxic Positivity Isn’t Helping
Because pretending to be okay when you’re not isn’t okay.
Humanizing Online Learning: Creating a Social Engagement Tool Kit
Laura Gogia shares a perspective on fostering human connection inside online classrooms with a toolkit of social learning technologies.
Embracing DEI Work as the “Why” » GCLi Leadership
This is a word that I have used as a Musical Theatre director for years. It’s a dance term that allows a person to move in 360 degrees. What no one in education anticipated was our unique ability to pivot so quickly in March 2020.Sitting on a new task force to look at many scenarios for 2020-2021 re…
International Literacy Association Hub
Young people in literacy classes sometimes think their teachers are not listening to them. The practitioners featured in this column listen to questions posed by their students and respond to them, w...
LMS Voice Curriculum Data Base - AP LIT HELP
Brian Hannon is a friend and rock star teacher who reached out to see if I would share this resource on this site. The answer was a quick YES as I believe this will be a site you return to time and time again. I’ve spent some time on this site and am amazed at the quality of content offered here. Yo…
Deep Habits: The Importance of Planning Every Minute of Your Work Day - Study Hacks - Cal Newport
Time Blocking The image above shows my plan for a random Wednesday earlier this month. My plan was captured on a single sheet of 24 pound paper in a Black n’

Favorite Tweet This Week

I really liked this visual rubric for partner talk. It seems like an easy way for students to self-assess. Check it out!