Saturday, June 24, 2017

Burnout, Passion, and Purpose ~ Celebrate 2017 (sixteen)

Each week Ruth Ayres extends an invitation to share the celebrations from our week.  Why don't you join the celebration?

This week marks the half-way point in my summer vacation. (No, that is not my celebration!)  I have to admit I became a little nervous at the end of the school year.

This was my tenth year of teaching, and for the first time I experienced a new set of feelings.  I didn't have to hold back tears as I said goodbye.  I was ready for this year to be over about the same time I turned the calendar page to March. I even counted down the days.

This was unfamiliar territory for me, and the b-word began to slip into my thinking. Burnout. I made it past the five year mark, the one that seems to be the high water mark for teachers.  What was wrong with me?

The first week of the summer I was a teacher at our SPARK camp, and I had a camper tell me that her cousin told her that I was mean.

Those words stung.

Had I lost my passion for teaching?  Did I forget my purpose?

Luckily, I found my answer this week at the All Write Conference.  And that answer is a firm no.

The theme of the conference was:  Reclaiming Purpose and Passion.  I surrounded myself with teachers who share their passion.  I listened to experts in the field and frantically wrote and tweeted their bits of inspiration.  I mentally tucked ideas in my head that I can't wait to implement this fall (or in about five weeks!)  I felt that excitement of learning as a teacher and the desire to share that learning with others.

I reclaimed my purpose and passion.

Here are just a few quotes I took away. 

"We need our teaching to be deep and slow like a river.  We need to slow down for teaching to sustain the learner."

"Students need mirrors, windows, and doorways.  They need to see some piece of them in us."

"We seek communion with those who understand us best."

"Love yourself enough to stand up for what is best for children."
~ Lester Laminack

"I don't think anyone of us truly gets how important we are in the lives of students." 
~ Ruth Culham

"We need to remember the meaning of what we do."

"Our jobs get hard when we forget about our purpose."

"When teachers tell the stories of the impact they make, everyone benefits."
~ Lee Snider

"...investing in the lives of children. I can think of no better way to make the world more beautiful."
~ Ruth Ayres

Take time this summer to ignite your passion for teaching and to remember your purpose. 

Reclaim it and yes, celebrate it!


  1. So glad to hear that your passion has been rekindled! For only my second year of teaching, I too had a rough year--mostly because of difficult students. I actually had one student tell me that I needed to stop being so "salty." I had to look that one up. It wasn't nice. And this was from a 6th grader. He tolerated me by the end of the year. :) May your summer bring further rejuvenation, passion, and purpose.

  2. Teaching is a huge job that requires our best selves. Being human, we will fall short of what we need to bring to our students. Recognizing this and doing something about it is what good teachers do. Teachers need to nurture themselves with passionate voices and reflection. I'm so glad you got that opportunity at All Write. Here's to the next half of your summer. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

  3. I can't wait to hear more about your time at All Write. And I'll check for your tweets too! It is a special place, and I missed being there with my blogging friends. So glad that it provided the energy for you to reclaim your purpose and passion. And now I have a great book recommendation for you - Beyond the Bright Sea. If you haven't read it yet, move it to the top of your pile! Happy rest of summer, my friend.

  4. I had the same year. It's hard to admit and I turned to my few close friends to lift my spirits and held on to some students who desperately needed me. I am sad that I didn't make it to Allwrite this year; however, I am celebrating the tweets and blog posts. Thank you :)

  5. I'd love to do the All Write conference. My issue is travel. I'm so glad that you reclaimed your passion. Like the wise words of Alexander's mom, "Some days (years) are like that, even in Australia." This year will be better.

  6. I'm sorry to hear about your challenging year. I appreciate your honesty with yourself, and admire your passion to attend AllWrite. Clearly that is just what you needed to truly recharge and reignite your passion for teaching! I agree with Margaret, this year will be better. Stay connected with those who feed you!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It helps others when we share our challenges. You are a gem.

    I love how you said, "I reclaimed my purpose and passion."

  8. The years are different. Some harder than others. Change happens all the time. The good thing is that you don't let this lead you but take charge and take care of yourself in order to be the kind of teacher you wish to be. Enjoy the rest of the holiday.

  9. We all feel this way at some point, and think it's us - that something went wrong because of us. In truth, teaching asks a lot of us, and we need to replenish our teaching souls often. All Write was the perfect place to do this, lucky you!

  10. Teaching is demanding: physically, mentally and emotionally. I'm so glad you found time to recharge and refresh at All Write. Talking with you certainly energized me too! I love the quotes you've noted to savor. I will have to go back through my notes and post some of mine soon.

  11. Leigh Anne, I am delighted that you are feeling rejuvenated to the point of writing again. I look forward to hearing more about All Write. I wish I could have been there.

  12. Sounds like a lovely summer so far - we do need to rejuvenate.