This past summer the Strumbellas came to play to a sold out crowd in St. Louis. As I watched them play my mind drifted to how often they must play each of these songs. Once the band leaves St. Louis they were headed somewhere east to do it all over again. That pace goes on for months. How do they keep it fresh every time? Each city, each person in the crowd expects to see a show full of energy and excitement.
Piles of money and the love of what you do can only carry you so far, how do they prevent burnout?
My thoughts eventually drifted to myself and the teachers around me. I know we can all look either in the mirror or into the eyes of the people we work with and see those telltale signs of burnout.
These ideas bring me to today. I read something, or maybe it was a video, that talked about the career plateau. It stated that within the first five years teachers stop growing, they get good at delivering the content and stop improving. While I am not sure that is totally accurate I can see how initiative fatigue can really drag people down.
There are a few teacher who come to mind that seem to buck that trend. I wonder if it is because they will try new things often in the classroom. They will publicly share what they are doing, what went well and when it is a total disaster.
I wonder if that is the key to helping curb burnout. Try new things. Take risks. I assume what the musicians do is play off the audience, use their energy to power them through the set. I know that when I work with a group of energetic teachers you can help but feed off of that.
I don’t know if the novelty of new things will help but it appears to be a step in the right direction.
5 thoughts on “The Strumbellas have me thinking.”
Interesting thoughts on a topic that I most teacher think about. That may also be why so many teachers leave the profession after five years. Burnout. Not only from getting stagnant, but from the factors of our craft that can be overwhelming. Negativity from parents, the public, our legislators to start. Keeping it interesting can be a shot in the arm. So can staying connected to colleagues. There is safety and security in numbers! Knowing you are not alone in this crazy but rewarding career helps.
I would definitely agree. I think those teachers who stay active learners, connect with others (like through Twitter and SOLSC) and don't recycle lesson plans year after year suffer less burn out. But I also think this is a really hard time of year. The days are dark and the winter has been long. Often there are no breaks in the calendar to allow for rest days. When spring break arrives, spirits seem to improve too. I'm counting the days. 🙂
Great metaphor! I worry about burnout myself. I agree with you that those teachers admire are ones constantly trying new things and are not afraid of risks. I hope I continue to be that way later in my career! I couldn't imagine how boring teaching would be if I did the exact same things every year. We have to change with the new technology and ideas that come our way.
Teachers have to be learners too. There is always something new to think about and apply to your own teaching. If you continue to learn, you will never burnout.
Elsie said it perfectly–you have to keep learning and growing. Teachers need a growth mindset as much (or more) than kids. I think you also have to surround yourself by people who are passionate about what they do. Excitement really is contagious! Your slice has left me with a lot to think about, especially as I reflect on the teachers I've directly worked with and if I've set them up to live a teaching life in which they won't easily burn out…