Stop Stressing About Teaching–It’s Never Worth It

 At my father’s funeral on a rainy day twelve years ago, the church was nearly empty and only two people cried.

My mom and I cried, and everyone else present stood dry-eyed, unperturbed, that a man who had lived 42 years on this Earth would be buried under mud.

But I don’t blame them. I know why they didn’t cry.

My dad was a man of integrity. But when he died in an accident, he was a shadow of his former self.

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How I Marked 63 Multiple-Choice Tests in 6 Minutes

Do you feel like you’re drowning in marking?

Do you look at a pile of multiple choice tests and groan at the thought of marking each one of them—A, B, C, or D?

These tests, book reports, essays, and paragraphs all pile up on your desk until it’s a fire hazard and your own life is all but swallowed.

If you’re like me, marking overload happens throughout the year, but especially around report card time.

Here in Canada, report cards comments and pre-exam grades are due on Monday. So, Friday was stay-at-school-till-9pm-marking-and-eating-pizza-day!

Even after marking for hours in the staff room on Friday, writing report card comments, and numbing my sorrows with pizza, diet coke, and cinnamon sticks, I still brought marking home.

Sound familiar?

I hate to complain. I love my job. But I hate marking.

In the first few years of my teaching career, I worked hard on improving my classroom management and my lesson planning. And my research made a huge difference. I am not a whipping girl of any classes. I’m pleased with my students’ results.

This next school year, my # 1 goal is to cut down my marking time by at least 50%. I will not mark away my weekends.

If you and I continue marking and lesson planning all Sunday every Sunday, I know we will become a statistic – between 40%-50% of teachers burn out and leave teaching, and for most of them, excessive workload is the primary cause.

So, when a teacher at my school told me about Zip Gradea software that transformed her cell phone into a multiple-choice test scanner and marker she claimed marked her tests in minutes—I scrambled to get it. I’m so excited to share it with you because it made me so happy to mark those 63 multiple choice tests within 6 minutes (I timed myself—this same marking would usually have taken me 45 minutes at least!).   

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7 Tips for Beating End-Of-Year Teacher Burnout

It’s that time of the year when a dry erase marker that won’t work or first block without your morning coffee is enough to flip your normally jovial, light-hearted self into a snarling, spitting cat.

Welcome to the end of the school year, where the survivors are few and the wounded many. You have made it through the morass of the school year—avoided the grenades, crouched low, staked out your territory—and made it to the other side of the trenches. This is no man’s land, but you—and a few other teachers who remain relatively sane—have nearly made it.

Now what?

Any armchair psychologist need only survey your wrinkled teacher garb and your matted, knotted hair to identify your condition: end-of-year teacher burnout. But it takes a teacher who has been there and done that, one who has gained a degree in armchair psychology from The School of Life to advise a burnt-out teacher what to do about it.

While I may not a master’s or PhD, I do hold that precious degree from The School of Life, and here is what I know about end-of-year teacher burnout. 

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14 tips for surviving the first year of teaching– a letter to my first year teacher self

When I was a first year teacher now nearly five years ago, I knew as much about teaching as I do about the types of clouds or the kinds of rocks: I had a vague recollection of learning facts about these things in school long, long ago, but put me in a rock museum or ask me to describe the clouds above my eyeballs, and I’d be stumped.

As a first year teacher, my knowledge of teaching was academic. In teachers’ college, I had been fed from a trough of fun, impractical theories; I had viewed classroom simulations comprised of perfectly behaved adults who playfully mimicked rebellious teenagers; I drank Starbucks lattes and sucked on bonbons as my professors talked about creativity, fun, and social justice.  In short, I had no idea what hell awaited me.

Here is my practical advice for first year teachers.

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