Monday, June 22, 2009

52 Teachers, 52 Lessons #21: Take Advantage of Vacations

This week's entry is from Siobhan Curious, who teaches English language and literature in Montreal. Her advice arrives at the ideal time for the majority of us who have started the summer or are just about to:

I've been writing a series of posts for the TimesOnline's education blog, School Gate, about dealing with teacher burnout. A few years ago, I was fed up and exhausted, and wanted to pull out of teaching altogether, and so I began taking steps to determine whether quitting was really what I wanted to do. I decided that it wasn't, but I realized that I had to take some time away from the classroom to refresh myself and gain some perspective. I did that - I took a semester off - and I came back to my job ready to take on new challenges.

I would strongly advise all teachers to regularly take time away from the classroom. If you don't have the opportunity to take the semester off, then at least take advantage of the vacations that you have. Get far, far away - go to another country if you can, and spend a couple of weeks thinking about anything but teaching. Do something with your hands: garden, take a cooking class, fix up your old motorbike. Go to the cottage with your family and spend your time walking, fishing, playing tennis, anything that clears your brain and moves your body. One way or another, shake teaching out of your head entirely and remind yourself that yes, you're a teacher, but you're a lot of other things too. Then, when you come back to the classroom, it will feel fresh.

Read more about this project here or add the 52 teachers 52 lessons tag to your favorites. Email your entries to teachforeverATgmailDOTcom. Week 22 is scheduled for next Monday, June 29th.