Friday, 21 January 2011

Smile, it's free! a.k.a how to avoid teacher's burnout

Having an interesting discussion with one of my colleagues the other day, we discovered that we were both moving towards an early burn-out this year and in full speed!

Unfortunately, this is the awful truth! However, regardless the "common" problems a teacher faces in the classroom, the solution is simple: smile, take a deep breath and move on!

Motivate yourself in unimaginable ways; watch a good show on TV. You will get informed and have something interesting to say to your students the next day, other than "Open your books" and "Giorgos, read". I have found myself taking notes and creating a whole lesson plan just by watching (e not so educational show...I know!) Project Runway, just because my B senior all-girls class (don't ask, it's just happened!) would deeply appreciate a lesson dedicated to just fashion! However, always get organized! Don't let it evolve like a useless rambling from your part.

Motivate yourself and your students at the same time. It's been quite a while now, that I post motivational phrases, English expressions or idioms etc, on the notice boards, both in the hall and in the classroom where I teach. I found that even A junior students have begun asking about the meaning. Use colours and pictures and create a small poster!

Think about what your students want to learn. If you use a coursebook, like all teachers in Greece do, make a combination of the lesson you have to teach and a subject (for example, Facebook and social networking) that all students are interesting in.

Read, read and read! Find your old university books about teaching and try also "diving" and "surfing"; there is a huge source of really useful websites on anything regarding teaching. Try old fashion ways: visit the library... Read books, newspapers, magazines.

Transform into a dream, your students' worse nightmare...Grammar! Use examples, games, talk to them about the use in real life. Close that Grammar book, but after you know perfectly what you're going to teach. Let your students enjoy the joy of another language. Don't correct them all the time; just make a slight comment later, while you're talking and don't point the finger!

Have a great sense of humor when your students don't study so hard. Of course, we don't ever forget the fact that, in Greece, people pay us to teach them English... We don't have to transform the whole situation into an "industry" which only cares about money. And of course you have to earn your living, but keep a balance!

Think about yourself. Get some rest. Have fun, do something different every once in a while!

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