Monday, October 18, 2010

Burnt Out

To all those experienced teachers who have been teaching for years, do you ever burn out?

Six days a week I am spending at least 6 hours a day lesson planning and teaching English learners both in the classroom and outside of the classroom.  Some days like today, I was engaged for a total of 8 hours:  4 hours of teaching, 1.5 hours of Chinese corner, 1 hour of TOEFL training, 1 hour of listening class interviews, 1 hour in the Tree House.  Even on Saturdays and Sundays I am engaged with English learners.  There is writing club, knitting club, and cooking club.  Plus I have a list of other activities to start like begin corresponding with a school in Alabama, start science club, plan a Halloween party, a dance party, write grants, and do a site exchange so that my students can take part in a photo club.  It takes a lot of patience and energy to be a Peace Corps volunteer with a plate full of secondary projects and to stay engaged with students who are studying English as a foreign language. 

Then in my free time I am still somehow engaged with students because I am taking PE three times a week.  Tuesday is soccer.  Last week, we did sprint warm-ups.  I felt they weren't long enough, since I enjoy sprinting till I puke.  Then we did some dribbling drills, but then spent an hour trying to hit the ball into the air as many times as possible without the ball hitting the ground.  The most I was able to do was 7 times. I've never played soccer before.  Is this skill of being able to hit the ball into the air many times important?  Thursday is Tai Chi.  I attended class last week, but it was sign up day.  I left early not having the patience to wait for thirty students to inefficiently sign their names to the roster.  Friday is Kung Fu.  It is fun, but leaves my muscles sore.  PE is fun yet it is another social event.  This introverted loner is feeling overwhelmed by the amount of socializing she is doing this semester.

It seems stupid to be complaining about my 30 hours of being engaged with students plus the 8 hours a week of lesson planning and grading, but I am feeling burnt out.  Is it because I've been in Peace Corps too long?  Been in China too long?  Or is it just because this semester I am feeling tired, a typical challenge that all teachers at some point face during their careers?

The end of my time in China is fast approaching.  Should I try to transfer back to Africa?  There are openings.  Africa sounds more appealing than America.  I need to find some convincing reasons why I should return to the USA.  I did have a realization the other week.  If I start job hunting, I will be applying to be an academic advisor for international students.

1 comment:

universalibrarian said...

Hang in there. Teaching is frikin tough, and it sounds like you have lot on your plate. On school days I don't really count on doing much after school. All the personal energy and phoooph, I am wiped out. Sitting at home an vegging is about what I am good for most days. So take it in stride. It isn't bad to be dead tired of teaching for a bit. (that's why they make those breaks in there) And to top it off you are in a foreign culture and that takes a lot of personal energy too even if it is exciting and there are other benefits. Academic advisor is a whole different ball game and I have always thought it would be a really nice job. Set hours, only one person at a time. Drawbacks are people being personally nasty. Sounds like it could be good.
Best of luck and hang in there, You're feeling something that all teachers feel. Set some boundaries , give yourself permission to do nothing once in a while, and know that you have done it successfully for a years already.