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. I’ll be posting a new ESL related article on my 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 contact Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will let you know how you can start participating!
How do you keep yourself from becoming burnt out and how do you stay motivated to teach?
It’s been a few months since I’ve written for the blog carnival, but I figured now was a good time to jump back into it. I’ve been home from South Korea for about 2 months now, and although I did get burnt out a lot while teaching, I’m really starting to miss it!
Honestly, the thing that consistently drained my motivation was all the down time I had at my school. I usually taught from 9-12 every day (about 4-5 classes), and had to teach the same lesson 7-9 times each. In the afternoons I sat at my desk wasting my life on facebook and surfing the web while checking the clock every 5 minutes to see if it was 4:30 yet. Nothing was more draining than teaching the same boring lesson over and over again, and then being forced to sit at a desk for 20 hours a week. So, how did I stay motivated? Here are 6 things I think any teacher can incorporate into his or her classroom to keep everyone from burning out!
1. Plan creative and fun lessons that YOU are excited to teach. Find out what the kids are interested in, and plan lessons that incorporate these things. Make it fun and exciting! Get advice from other teachers about what lessons worked/didn’t work for their students.
2. Be ready. Getting plenty of rest during the week, and having your lesson plans in order well before you need to teach them will help reduce the daily stress and anxiety that will burn you out very quickly.
3. Make your lessons as interactive as possible. What’s more boring than sitting at a desk listening to a teacher talk? Add a language barrier, and the students will zone out even faster. Get them up and moving, and interact with them as much as possible.
4. Take brain breaks. Plan rewards and incentives that the students can earn periodically. These are great for the teacher and the students. Every few weeks close the text book and have a games day, movie day, or a special activity like a scavenger hunt or cooking class. Having something to look forward to will make the days and weeks easier to deal with.
5. Change of scenery. If your school allows it why not change things up and try to have class somewhere outside of the normal classroom? Not everyone has the facilities for this, but even something as simple as having class outside on a nice day can make a huge difference in the moods and attitudes of students and teachers.
6. Let go of the stress, and just have fun. Don’t be afraid to let loose in the class, be goofy and energetic even if you aren’t having the best day. Having fun and enjoying time with your students will undoubtedly brighten your spirits!
How do you motivate yourself and your students?