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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Burn Out

Feeling a little burnt out here. I have work ...  I have a job teaching. It is an OK job. I basically teach students how to speak in English. Most, if not all of my students, already can communicate in English. So I simply help them to hone their skills and become more fluent. The problem for me is that I am now feeling exhausted by it. Honestly, it is pretty boring. I know it is all my problem and I have to find a way to put excitement into this type of work. I was afraid of when this day would come ...  when the work would become a complete chore and the hardest part would be just showing up for class. Well, that day has come. Now what do I do?

Writing this blog actually helps. I can sit and formulate thoughts and write about it and empty some space in my mind. Essentially, the work can be stress free. All stress associated with it comes from my own doing. But I am finding that there seems to be stress in every type of work here. The friends I have made all talk about the stress of their job. This is without exception. Whether the work is in government, advertising, medicine, law, etc ..., the person talks about the stress of their job.

I make the decision right now to not let this continue for me. I do not have to buy into it. When teaching conversational English become stressful, there is something wrong. It is on me to make one or some adjustments.

I can start by not giving too much weight to students who believe they know how to teach. This is sometimes a problem in a conversation class. The student or students decide that the class is not "teaching" them. In other words, they feel as if the class should be "this" or should be "that". It is sometimes difficult to understand what they want because there is the difficulty of being clear in translation. I find that students here want the teacher to do everything. That is, they want the teacher to be entertaining, knowledgeable and hold their attention no matter what. Since I am not a product of Polish education, I can only speculate that their schooling has been one of lectures and tests. When I challenge the student here to tell me how they learn or what they expect from a class, I often get silence or at best, a very vague and general goal. "I want to speak better English" is a common expectation. Well, with all respect, I reply "no shit?! Why else would you take a class in English?"

Now and then I get a student who is willing to let go of their preconceived notions of learning and with an open mind, the student begins to truly learn. But this is the exception. I am not experiencing much of this in my classrooms recently and I am wondering why am I doing this type of work?

It is time to take a long and good look at what I want. It is time to take a look at why I am feeling affected by all of this. Perhaps my boredom with this type of work is coming through to the student. If this is the case, I must get out of it. A bored teacher is a dangerous thing.

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