Monday, October 5, 2015

How can teachers avoid burnout?

[10/4/2015, 20:27] +91 90038 01866: How can teachers avoid burnout?
-Voices Magazine.

Rationalising administrative duties, creating a time slot for teachers to share ideas and learn from each other, encouraging teacher co-operation, initiating and valuing innovations, setting up a mentor system for new colleagues – all these are possible in a well-managed educational team.

Creating a good staff room climate is crucial for teachers to stay motivated and positively involved. Teaching is a solitary job. Although we are with our students all the time, it is not our students but our colleagues who form our professional community. Their ideas are important and their appreciation counts. So what makes a good staff room?

When entering a good staff room, one feels a sense of energy. Teachers greet each other, discuss classes and other matters. There is co-operation between teachers in various forms: sharing ideas, teaching materials, successes and problems. Teachers pay attention to each other; they listen and give acknowledgement and feedback. A good staff room often has a meaningful message board (personal, helpful messages, not just announcements). Perhaps most importantly, there is a relaxed atmosphere and there seems to be time for people.

Teachers can also do their part by drawing on one of their professional skills, namely an ability to engage with people. If we can manage our students’ involvement in their own learning, and help them set goals and stay motivated, then it should be possible for teachers to help each other in the same way, and, by doing so, avoid burnout. It means practising what we preach, doing what we require our students to do, and using some of our class management skills in the staff room as well.

Take the following instructions which we say in class on a daily basis: work in pairs or groups, ask questions, listen again, revise, check your work, evaluate yourself, and so on.

These are the techniques we use to create a motivated, focused and co-operative classroom environment. Using the same techniques in the staff room can have the same effect.

Understanding professional burnout can help us see the first signs while it is still relatively easy to prevent it at more serious stages. A good professional community is the most powerful tool for helping teachers avoid burnout. Building such communities is the shared responsibility of school management and teachers, and can lead to the benefit of all.
[10/4/2015, 20:35] +91 90038 01866: "Happy World Teachers Day!"

UNESCO proclaimed 5 October to be World Teachers’ Day (WTD) in 1994, celebrating the great step made for teachers on 5 October 1966, when a special intergovernmental conference convened by UNESCO in Paris adopted the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, in cooperation with the ILO.

This recommendation sets forth the rights and responsibilities of teachers as well as international standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, teaching and learning conditions. Various guidelines are included regarding teachers’ participation in educational decisions through consultation and negotiation with policy-makers.

The Recommendation is an important set of guidelines to promote teachers’ status in the interest of quality education.

WTD is a natural extension of UNESCO and partner's all year round work for teachers, ensuring that this profession, so vital to the healthy functioning of society, is itself "healthy".

Teachers are a normative indicator of social health.

[10/4/2015, 20:41] +91 90038 01866: "Eight steps to becoming a more creative teacher"

- By Marisa Constantinides,  presented @ webinar for British Council Web.

Step one: become a knowledgeable teacher

Today, it's easier than ever before to learn about teaching. There are lots of books, training courses, free online courses, online resources, and university programmes that can help us develop as teachers.

Learning about other things is important too. Creative teachers bring more to class than just a knowledge of teaching. They are educated in other areas, and can draw on their experiences and outside interests.

I recommend taking up an artistic hobby such as learning to play a musical instrument, or following a drama course. As well as enjoying these things for their own sake, you can use them in your teaching to great effect.

Using songs in the classroom, for example, is very motivating for learners and can help them process the language and improve pronunciation. Including drama techniques and integrating them into your syllabus is another great way of allowing a hobby to enrich your teaching.

Step two: connect with other teachers

Although formal training will help you develop as a teacher, it's important to connect with others in your field. Inspiration can come from the big-name speakers and writers, but just as often, it comes from teachers like you and me.

It's never been easier to find inspiring teachers to follow on Facebook, Twitter and in the blogosphere. Follow and read their blogs, join a teacher’s association and attend talks and workshops live or online.

Inspiration rubs off and will create in you the desire to imitate these teachers in your daily teaching practices.

Step three: become a collector of teaching ideas

It doesn't matter if you don’t use the ideas you collect straight away. The important thing is to collect and organise them in a way that makes it easy to try them out when the right opportunity presents itself. It's these ideas that will nudge you along the road to creativity, especially as you begin to adapt and experiment with them.

When discovering new ideas online, be sure to use the various bookmarking and curation tools available today, and follow the curated collections or lists of others.

Curation will also help you to be more resourceful: you'll have ideas and activities at your fingertips in case things go wrong!

Step four: share your learning

In my experience, teachers (like learners) can pick things up from others as they go along, but there comes a point when they find they have to make a commitment or a contribution.

If you have training days in your school, offer to lead a session and then research the topic, so that you feel confident about sharing your knowledge with your peers. This can be a daunting but momentous moment in the life of a teacher, and you'll be amazed by how much you learn in the process.

Start a teaching journal or a blog. The act of blogging and describing your teaching ideas generates conversations with other teachers, and those conversations stimulate more ideas; they are a great bridge to creative teaching.

Step five: remove the blocks to creative thinking

Many people are confident about their creative potential and are not afraid to dip their toes in the pool, but lots of us at various times have felt we cannot do it. In those moments, we might feel we lack the imagination, that we're not clever enough, young enough or talented enough, and so on.

No-one can claim that every person has the same skills and abilities as everyone else, but all people have the potential to be creative. Look what we do with language! Using a finite vocabulary, each of us creates original utterances, never articulated in quite the same way before, every time we speak.

Work on your self-esteem; be around supportive colleagues who share the same interests and goals and make you feel good about yourself.

Step six: practise your creativity

Just as athletes maintain their ability through continual training, our brains also benefit from regular exercise. What do you do to exercise your mind? Do you enjoy crosswords, Sudoku or jigsaw puzzles? These and similar 'brain-training' activities have been shown to increase our concentration and boost creativity.

We often tell our students that practice makes perfect, but it's important that we apply this to ourselves. Skilled people in all fields, from dancers to chefs to teachers, reach the highest levels through practice – they didn't get there overnight. But practice takes discipline and patience.

When practising anything, it's a good idea to set your mind to the process rather than the goal. In other words, take satisfaction in what you're doing in the present moment rather than worry too much about what you have yet to achieve.

Step seven: start experimenting and reflecting on your teaching

A sure-fire way to burning out as a teacher is to stick to the same ideas and techniques without trying something new. This approach is bound to demotivate your students at some point too.

Learners respond positively to teachers who don’t follow the same old steps in the same old way day in and day out. As much as learners like teachers who are patient, tolerant and able to explain things well, they appreciate teachers whose lessons have surprises and elements of fun.

Try out new ideas or adapt old ones, but remember to stop, think and evaluate the experience when done. Learn from your successes and your mistakes, and try to make this a regular part of your teaching.

Step eight: make creativity a daily goal

Being creative can help you solve problems. This is useful to teachers because problem-solving is what teachers do every moment of their working day, from deciding on teaching materials, procedures and grades, to adapting an activity that learners are not responding to, and helping individuals who are not progressing as they should.

To keep developing these skills, you need to make creativity part of your daily routine rather than an occasional activity. Look at everything you do with a critical eye and consider how your lessons could be made more motivating, productive and interesting for your learners.

Above all, give yourself time and don't judge yourself harshly. Developing one’s creative thinking abilities, just like developing any other cognitive ability or skill, is not a straight and smooth progression but requires patience, dedication, and a passion for excellence.

1 comment:

  1. Start learning a new skill untill your life ends that can keep you brisk and busy.
    My life principle is very simple keep trying new things in every possible moment
    Good article