Dealing with Burnout

Have you ever felt burn-out in your teaching?  Perhaps you put all your energy and time into teaching your students, whether they be 3 or 123.  After several months of intense teaching without a substantial break, it is time to strategize and rejuvenate.  Not all in the following blog are my own ideas… many have been contributed by wonderful fellow teachers in the business who have experienced what many of you may be facing at the moment.

  1. Attend Workshops – by attending music workshops, those creative juices will begin flowing again!  Be inspired by others in the business, discover new ways to present a topic to your students, and enjoy what you do. Other conferences through the Music Teacher’s Association (MTA) also are great opportunities to meet others.  http://www.mtna.org
  2. Schedule Breaks – take a day off.  Sleep in.  Get a manicure.  Get a massage.  Eat Chocolate.  Take care of you (the teacher)!
  3. Break the routine up by scheduling various types of activities for lessons, groups, and programs.  This not only helps the teacher, but provides a great means of motivation for all the students.
  4. Try something new… new music and new games for your students will help them stay motivated and energized about music.  Move the equipment and instruments around in your studio space, so it seems new.  Perhaps encourage use of technology (using http://www.musiclearningcommunity.com, http://www.tonictutor.com, or what we use at this studio – PianoMaestro, an iPad app).  Or, have everyone work on duets for the recital.
  5. Put on an uplifting CD and just listen to the music without worrying about the technical aspects and fretting about how to analyze the structure with a student.  :)   Watch a DVD, sing, dance, and remind yourself that there is joy in music.
  6. Join online groups and share.  Knowing that you are NOT alone is very helpful.  Yahoo Groups & Facebook groups are great sources for camaraderie in music studio aspects and issues of all kinds.
  7. If there are any students who make you anxious the minute they walk in the studio… find a way to address the issues in a pleasant way & find solutions.
  8. Organize a fun incentive program you & your studio will enjoy – one that doesn’t create extra work for anyone.

Just know you are not alone.  Teaching is a challenge and we often will crave the conversation we find when spending time with others.  Spend time with your family.  Take an evening to have visitors over for dinner (not necessarily one from your studio).  Go to a movie.  Take a walk in the park.  Enjoy what you do!  You are needed and are wonderful teachers!  Enjoy every moment you have with your students, but remember to take some time to motivate yourself.  A bored or stressed teacher causes only bored and stressed students.  When you find joy in what you do, your students will too.  :)   Have a wonderful year!

3 thoughts on “Dealing with Burnout

    • Thank you, Eliza, for taking the time to write! :) I certainly didn’t think of these things when I started teaching – and even now, I’m continually learning and growing… and adjusting both policies & expectations. My studio, students, and I are all doing really well as a result. What are some things you’ve done to help avoid burnout as a teacher?

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      • Hello Kristin,
        I take 3 classes a month and offer a group class during the last week. I use this last week for makeup classes and for students who wish to book extra class (mostly students who are practising a lot and have a goal to reach)

        It’s wonderful, because it’s giving me a lot of space to study, plan my teaching and work on making it more effective.

        It’s also important that I have a break from being a teachers, because it’s that break that helps me be more patient when getting through to a student is not simple and straightforward.

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