Is it possible to stop burning out while teaching?

Surprise, surprise…. But yes…..

Teaching is one of the most honorable professions. Teachers are expected to have years of experience, a high level of dedication, and to continue upgrading themselves professionally almost throughout their whole career. Moreover, working with people requires good soft skills and an ability to stay in a good mood, or in some ways to show that you are in a good mood all the time. Having to meet such a high level of expectations, it is not a surprise to realize one day that you are like a sucked-out balloon that will not fly anymore. I think many professionals from the educational field at least once in their careers have come to this edge… I too turned out NOT to be an exception.

Having been teaching for 15 years, I am still enjoying what I am doing and I certainly love my students, at the same time I have to admit that some years ago I experienced a so-called teaching crisis. So, here are some of my tips that kept me boosted!

Introduce various guidance manuals

Unquestionably most of us do not have much choice as we have to stick to the curriculum recommendations. Nevertheless, there is still a loophole to bring additional materials, different worksheets, and some other entertaining activities like board games or even videos and songs. Such a tiny change in teaching routine will be beneficial for you and ultimately for your students, as they will immediately notice a sparkle in your eyes.

Teaching different age/level groups or grades

I understand that working with different types of groups or grades is fraught with extra preparation time and here we are talking about not burning out at work… Each academic group has its own character, ultimately the working environment will differ from group to group, as a result, we, teachers, will perform accordingly. All mentioned factors will help to gain more energy rather than consuming.

Do not prepare for classes too far in advance

Here I shall clarify that I do not mean syllabus which is essential for any course furthermore it is time-consuming to create one. If you are used to preparing a month ahead it is totally fine. I personally struggle to remember the message I wanted to deliver 10 days before. That is why I prefer doing my preparation a week in advance with fresh thoughts regarding the topic of discussion. Anyway, it is possible to add a final touch to your lesson plan closer to the class.

Take professional training course in ralated fields

Focusing only on the discipline you work with will soon bring you to the point of being overwhelmed. To avoid this, take a wider look at your subject.  I am sure that you will find something that will be indirectly relevant to what you teach which will bring a fresh breeze to your work. Being a teacher of English, I have done some training on Business Communication and Academic Writing so far. Moreover, I have become interested in content writing and marketing that let me create several workshops in English for my students… and they appreciate a professional who is not frozen in one place.

Create time only for yourself in your daily routine

I am not talking about long hours. It may only be 10 – 15 breaks but you should take it regularly and do what fulfills you. Have a cup of coffee or tea and read a poem, or scroll through cool pictures on Pinterest, watch an episode of a favorite serial, look through a magazine. Please, do not take it as procrastination, but as a treat to yourself. For instance, I cannot imagine my daily routine without having coffee while doing make-up. It feels like a therapy that charges me with positive vibes for the day.

Do sport

I cannot think of a better way to unwind. Lifting, yoga, palates, anything will do. Cardio will help enrich the blood with oxygen hence you will become a happier person. In addition, a regular training session will manage stress levels.

Long leave

The bright side of being a teacher is to usually have longer leave than people in other fields. It is good if you have a chance to go away as changing the environment usually brings new impressions and memories. After a journey, we feel more relaxed and peaceful with new experiences and stories that might be interesting to incorporate into your teaching plan.

I hope that you will find these tips handy in preventing yourself from burning out. If you have some advice or ideas to share, leave a message in the comment box. Hope you have a long teaching career and also enjoy your coffee!

International Couples Likely to Set New Record for Physical Separation and Time Apart

(With some practical tips to win the situation)

It is already October, which means that we have spent the major part of 2020 locked in our hometowns counting the days till the Covid Story is over and waiting to get back to normal or new normal lives. While most news reports have been focusing on the pandemic’s influence on the economy, mental health and other social issues, not too many words have been spoken or written regarding how this separation has affected the lives of international couples who have been unable to meet their better halves for over 7 months.

It is hardly ever easy…….

There are tons of reasons behind the decision to enter long distance relationships, definitely one of them is still the human drive to be happy.

Back in those days when we were able to catch a flight and within some hours land in the arms of someone special, make plans regarding regularly catching-up, discussing long term plans and much more… Even then long-distance relationships required a lot of dedication from both sides in terms of trust and regular time for each other.

Long-distance relationships in time of lockdown

One can hardly find a unique recipe when it comes to the affairs of the heart. So, what can be done under current circumstances when we cannot travel but wish to keep the spike of romance.

# incorporate extra chatting time in your daily routine

It does not mean giving up on important work just to chat on the phone all day long. Definitely, that’s the last thing you have on your mind. So, why not give a call to your beloved one while you are having lunch, for instance, or doing your cardio session in the gym. Well, you might not have deep, thoughtful conversations, but just that right amount of attention can make someone’s day… and another benefit… the cardio session usually flies by, believe me.

# romantic date

It may sound weird to have a date while physically being in different countries. Modern technologies are at our disposal, so why not watch the same movie or serial on Netflix and simultaneously video call. The only downside, I can think of, is not being able to share pop-corn which is always tastier from your partner’s bucket. The same patten can be adopted while having dinners, reading books, doing yoga, playing boardgames and many more.

# letters

Yes, you’ve got it right! Writing letters in the age of WhatsApp might look a bit dated, but what a romantic touch they can give. Moreover, the collection of pandemic letters will become a crucial part of your joint experience that you will be able to share with your grandchildren in 30-year time. In addition, you cannot imagine how nice it is to have a cup of coffee and read a letter from a special one:

“A tiny little car and its occupant will be waiting to meet you…. They will journey their way to Terminal 3 and wait impatiently for you to come out of the gate….. to welcome you to D….” wrote a certain Mr M.

The bottom line We are living through a difficult but unique time which we will surely recall over and over again while telling stories to our grandchildren. Meanwhile, I do believe such a rigorous test for loving hearts will strengthen their feelings and make them value every single moment they spend together in the future. If you have other tips to manage this hard time being apart, thoughts to share or you’ve been touched by pandemic Romeo and Juliet, you are more than welcome to drop a line in the comment box. Enjoy your coffee!

Just Some Real Talk on How to Maintain Second Language Level

You have attended almost every class of your second language, spent hours trying to build up your vocabulary, watched and listened to almost everything that was possible in order to boost your listening skills. You were imagining yourself on a hot summer day coming into a cafe somewhere in London or Paris and conversing fluently with the barista in a language you were trying to become proficient in. Moreover, barefaced 2020 has manifested that our thoroughly planned vacations can be messed up within a second. A familiar situation, isn’t it? So how does one NOT feel embarrassed or hang their head down… but keep the level of learning their language up? Here are some steps to take.

Your phone is your best friend

Switch your phone into the language you are studying. Someone might say that it doesn’t make any difference and can hardly benefit you in your learning journey, but just think that on an average we spend around five hours a day on our phones. It ultimately means that you will spend the same amount of time with your target language.

Effortless steps make big difference

Put stickers with ‘foreign’ words on the things surrounding you. It is a simple idea but so beneficial. The human brain tends to forget words we sometimes use as a matter of routine, especially if you don’t converse in them often. A friend of mine went to Argentina after having learnt Spanish for a couple of years. Do you think she was pleasantly surprised discovering that she could easily translate content of bilateral meetings, but struggled to ask for salt, a cup of coffee without milk or directions? By seeing every day words, you train your brain to remember them and in key moments you will be able to pick the right one.

Every day routine

Incorporate immersing yourself into your ‘goal language’ as a daily life. Internet is a treasure trove. Follow some YouTube bloggers talking about that dream destination or try to search for locals of the country you were planning to travel to. It doesn’t matter what exactly you watch… the key to success is to do it by learning the language and to be consistent.

Now it is time to talk about training our productive skills.

Talk to yourself

Don’t worry you won’t go crazy. The point is to start practicing what you have read, listened to and watched. There is no doubt that mental conversation is easier to obtain and we won’t make ourselves feel embarrassed. But remember, NO PAIN, NO GAIN. Moreover, while talking aloud to yourself, the brain is analyzing everything, so you will figure out what words you need to learn and which grammar rules to revise. So, meeting with native speakers won’t be that shocking anymore.

Join a language group on social media

On the web there are a lot of pen-pal sites. There is a downside; most of them are not free of charge. Well, on FB you can find language groups and join them for free. The big advantage might be if people are open to having video calls there, so you will kill two birds with one stone: chatting to the members and having real talks once in a while. By the way, we have an idea to organize such group with weekly topics to discuss, so if you are interested and considering to become a member, leave a comment “want into the group” down below and we will send you an invitation.

The Bottom Line

There is always a silver lining. And if we can’t go to the country of the language, we have been studying for such a long time, let’s create this environment ourselves.

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