It's no secret that teaching has a higher turnover rate compared to other professions. I remember sitting in Methods in Language Arts 3-5 at Heritage University when my professor prepared us for the cold hard truth of teacher turnover. He warned us that more than half of teachers change professions after three years. Why is it that teachers burn out? There are different reasons for each teacher. Principal Kafele, a highly regarded education speaker states, "For sure, this is the time of the year when many teachers across the U.S. start “feeling it.” Pressures are coming from every direction imaginable. Some of us are “feeling it” from administration which might include a lack of demonstrated appreciation for your work; some from the pressures of forthcoming standardized testing; some from a toxic school climate AND culture; some from parents who are not engaged nor productively active in their children’s lives; and some from either apathetic, disengaged, undisciplined, unmotivated, recalcitrant or defiant students.
Principal Kafele's message has got me meditating on my "WHY". Ever since I was a child I said I was going to be a teacher. I played school with my friends and my younger sibling. I think if I asked seven-year-old me I would say that I believe it is my purpose. Maybe I wouldn't say it that eloquently but the reason remains. Even as a little girl, I loved children and wanted to lead them towards excellence. As an adult four years into this profession, I am constantly thinking about ways to improve or change my lessons. Just last week I was winding down after a full day of teaching by cooking dinner and my mind wandered back to, “ I should use cardstock for the Valentine’s Day project instead of cardboard because cutting it will be more manageable for my students.” And right back to chopping broccoli. Then later, on a Sunday while driving home from Bellingham on Chuckanut Drive, I found myself gazing out the window up at a flock of swans. Marveling at their size and formation, I started thinking about how important it is to rearrange the materials on the shelves in my classroom so that the students will see something new and engage with it.
This teaching thing, it is my life's purpose. I do it because I'm good at it and it brings me joy. I like filling the hours of my day with youthful curiosity and imagination. I have patience, open-mindedness, creativity, and love to offer my students. I'm a reliable source of guidance and support for them. The routine and structure I provide helps them grow and develop into mindful leaders and productive citizens of the world. Furthermore, I wish to dismantle the gender norms that restrict children from moving through the world as their authentic selves. Opportunities in science and math should be promoted for every young person regardless of gender. Expressing feelings is not weak and should be encouraged as an act of emotional intelligence in every young person regardless of gender. Dance, music, art, the color pink, legos, building, engineering...we all deserve encouragement in these pursuits regardless of gender. My purpose is to communicate that message to young people, inspire them, and facilitate them in reaching their goals.
Another part of my "WHY" is that I have a desire to reinforce family and community bonds by uplifting and developing relationships. Curating and promoting events that bring people together to support students is a natural inclination of mine. I wish to further exercise this capability within my profession because a strong parent-teacher-school relationship maximizes student achievement.
What is your "WHY?" I find that talking to other teachers recharges me and helps me in avoiding burnout. This is because other teachers have had similar experiences and offer practical advice which in turn gives me a solid support system. If you agree, I recommend you join the Bloomz Teachers Facebook Group, and here is why:
- It acts as a professional learning community (PLC). This group of teachers have a common bond which is the desire to implement technology to connect with a classroom community.
- The Bloomz Teachers Facebook group is growing and supporting each other every day. In addition to the knowledge I receive from engaging with Bloomz teachers online, the Bloomz app itself assists me in avoiding teacher burnout!
While we're in the subject, Bloomz makes routine tasks easier for me which frees up time for self-care. In turn, this alleviates stressors that lead to burn out. For example the quiet hours feature reminds me that it is between 7PM and 7AM so I don't NEED to reply right away because my class parents can't see that I viewed the message. The quiet hours reminder helps me maintain a healthy work life balance.
How do features within the Bloomz app assist you in freeing up time for self-care? As you reflect on how this school year is going and assess your burnout level, please share your "WHY" with Bloomz teachers by posting it in the Bloomz Teachers Facebook Group and tweeting it out @BloomzApp with the hashtag #MyBloomzPLC