Blog Carnival: Don’t Get Burnt Out With Teaching

Today’s article is written for the Reach To Teach Teach Abroad Blog Carnival, a monthly series that focuses on providing helpful tips and advice to ESL teachers around the globe. The hosts for this month are Jenni Burge and Chris Shannauer, here you can find other similar articles. I’ll be posting a new ESL related article to this blog on the 5th of every month. Check back for more articles, and if you’d like to contribute to next month’s Blog Carnival, please get in touch with me at dean@reachtoteachrecruiting.com, and I’ll let you know how you can start participating!

We all know what it can be like as teachers, you are as excited as a firework when you go away to another country and begin your journey as an overseas ESL teacher. In the beginning you are busy getting to know your students, getting to grips with the curriculum and school system and getting to know your work colleagues, so everything is new and amazing.

Fast forward a year and you find that the ‘honeymoon period’ has set sail, the excitement of your new position has lost its charms and work has become a daily grind instead of a fun cool job.

So how can you prevent this from happening?

There are ways to make it possible for you to not have these feelings and keep your teaching fresh and exciting.

1. Mix it up

So you find yourself with a class who you know inside and out. You know what works for them, they love the teacher says game and sticky target. Its fun. It works. Why Change it? Well, whilst these games are fun and work for the language, if repeated every lesson can leave you, and even your students, feeling somewhat bored, your lessons become predictable for the students.

Why not challenge your students and keep your games fresh and exciting, do some research or ask your work colleagues and do a games share. Keeping your students on their toes this way will certainly freshen up your class and drastically reduce any feelings of boredom you might be having with teaching. Remember you are in charge of the classes you produce, its up to you to put the work in to make them fun or keep them the same.

2. Get a hobby

Now you may think that this doesn’t have much relevance in terms of teaching, just bare with me. You find yourself in a situation where you have finally settled in to your new surroundings, you have your routine; maybe you have a favorite café you go to every weekend or a certain park you always walk around. You suddenly start to find yourself a little bored. My advice is to get a hobby.

Think about it, you have landed yourself into a unique opportunity where a world of new experiences is open to you in another culture, just waiting for you to try them. Maybe you take up tai kwon do in South Korea or Tai Chi in Taiwan. Whatever it is it will serve to keep your experience exciting. And how does that relate to teaching? If you are finding yourself burnt out, just try a new hobby and you will see what I mean. You’re home life has a direct link to your work life, if you improve how things are going outside of work, I can guarantee it will have a positive affect on your work life.

3. Get a new job

What can sometimes happen with ESL teaching positions is that you work in a school and the first year rolls by, then the second, and maybe even the third and you realize that you have reached the full potential of your position and its looking like there is no more room for promotions or new responsibilities. When this happens I would say it is time for a change. Maybe you have been a kindergarten teacher for 2 years, why not find a position with adults instead? Maybe you have been teaching for a few years with kids, now that you have gained this valuable teaching experience you may be able to break into the public school system.

The point here is that changing up your work life and trying something new will most definitely extinguish any feelings of boredom with teaching. You may even land yourself a position where there is potential for promotion, you can become a curriculum developer or an area manager, maybe one day you could even own your own school.

These three pieces of advice designed to show you that you are in charge of your own destiny when it comes to teaching. Nobody is going to come in and change your experience for you, that’s your job. If you don’t like something, change it, and reap the benefits when you do. 

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