John T. Spencer teaches 8th grade in an urban, low-income school. Visit their class website, Socialvoice.blogspot.com, where they create documentaries, compose multimedia plays, paint murals and find other ways to blend service learning, technology and creativity while still having rigorous academics. He has taught professional development classes on meaningful tech integration, classroom leadership (non-coercive leading rather than rewards-based management) and understanding the local cultural context.
Presentation: Teacher Burnout
Description: This presentation will focus on effective ways to deal with and prevent teacher burnout.
Interview with John:
What can we expect from your presentation?
My major focus will be a practical, personal and philosophical look at burnout, using my own experiences as a reference point. I believe there are some key beliefs that lead to burnout and likewise certain beliefs that help develop a long-term, sustainable teaching vocation. In my experience, the biggest cause of burnout is shame.
Why do you believe that a discussion about teacher burnout is so important?
I see this as crucial to so many elements of education. It’s the unspoken aspect of education reform that I rarely hear. People talk of recruiting “better” teachers but that statement, in and of itself, is a part of the shaming process that causes good teachers to leave. I also see this as a topic that is relevant as people enter the teaching profession, given the fact that many of them will quit within the first three years.
Will you share a personal experience about teacher burnout with us?
I don’t have formulas. I don’t have all the answers. I won’t spout of ten steps and twenty keys. I do, however, feel like I know something about burnout. On three occasions I almost burned out. One began with disillusionment with the profession and my own inadequacies the first year. Another involved a time when teaching became too easy and I felt like I wasn’t making a difference. The last one was a time when I felt too much pressure to get the kids to pass the test. The whole AYP pressure was becoming too much. In each case, I saw the story of shame and re-examined my identity as a teacher and my belief system. This led to a renewal of a better outlook, which in turn reshaped my teaching practices.
Date & Times: 8-8:30am PST, New York 11 am EST, Denver 9am MST, 4pm GMT, Paris 5pm CET, Perth 12am Sun., Sydney 3am Sun., Tokyo 1am Sun. Check your time zone here!