For the majority of educators, putting themselves "out there" becomes a common job requirement. Presenting a lesson after a new haircut, tripping in front of students, or just plain starting a new year all require a sort of jumping out of your comfort zone. As new priorities, dictates, and research come down the pipe, the majority of educators are observed and evaluated much more frequently than in the past and have revised both content and pedagogical directions of their classrooms drastically. On top of that, educators are facing a myriad of critics: everyone from parents and politicians to strangers and comedians on social media have an opinion on changes to education.
However, it's not like educators are necessarily more comfortable with putting themselves forward for critique or potential rejection than the non-education population. I have seen educators refuse to go to a professional development without knowing someone that will be at the session. I have heard many educators refuse to revise lessons with changing curriculum or testing because the current rumblings in politics lead them to mistrust the validity and consistency of those changes.
As for myself, I am consistently seeking out those "leave my comfort zone" opportunities. I have honed my interview skills, reflected, researched, and practiced- and failed. Spectacularly. Embarrassingly. Painfully.
Even as I write this, I know what to say to myself- so? Suck it up. It's part of growth; it's all a learning experience. Every failure is just the chance to grow. It's your 20's....they are supposed to suck. What kind of model are you to students if you are not approaching failure as a chance to grow?
That's all true, but I just coming back to the idea from Dave Stuart Jr.'s e-book "Never Finished"- no teacher starts out burnt out. NO ONE.
So, backpedaling a bit, what can individuals do to prevent burnout and what can system-level organizations do to build up professionals? Here, have some info-graphics!
In a nutshell, make sure you are prioritizing your long-term growth, and not just professionally.
While I am a big fan of personal responsibility in creating healthy careers, I think all organizations, schools, and professional development opportunities should take a serious look at their applicant process. Specifically...
Whether you are selecting students for a writing competition, or one day hiring candidates, you have the power to build people into leaders or contribute to bitterness and burnout. Be sensitive.
Love and light,