When you’re a young child, life is full of playing and having fun. This is important because learning through play is the first way we begin to learn and develop. Unfortunately, as we grow into adults, we are introduced to other ways of learning. After all, the more you grow up, the longer your list of responsibilities grows. It starts to become difficult to relax when you still have items on your ‘to-do’ list. This has added complications when you’re a teacher; after all, getting your work done partially depends on the efforts of your students. This can, perhaps, lead towards the temptation to place more on your students’ plates. After all, the sooner it’s all done, the better, right?
However, this approach is not only unfair, it’s also counterproductive. Because a person can only maintain an effort for so long before it begins to impact on their performance, and even damage their health. This is known as burnout, and it’s a perfect example of ‘more haste, less speed’. Of course, burnout is simply a mid to long-term outcome. Even over the course of a day, the performance of your students will drop if they are made to work for too long. This is why break times are a part of the school routine, but it’s not enough to simply rely on this. Every so often, it pays to be proactive in avoiding burnout. And, if this is something you’re looking for advice on, you’re going to love the next paragraph.
A key thing to keep in mind when looking to avoid burnout in class is that your options aren’t simply working or not working. As I never stop banging on about, playing is the earliest form of learning for children. This underlines the fact that you can learn while having fun. As such, avoiding burnout can dovetail quite nicely with helping to engage your students with their lessons. By incorporating some lessons into the form of fun games, you can help them unwind a bit while still learning.
Still, sometimes, you just need a bit of a break. So, unless your school runs a punishing schedule, there’s no harm in setting aside the occasional bit of time for having fun. These activities can be as simple, or elaborate, as you like. On the ‘simple’ end of the scale, we have activities such as colouring. This is a very easy activity to set up, yet it provides many benefits to your students, as well as yourself. For your students, they get a relaxing activity which helps to promote mindfulness and all of its associated benefits. Meanwhile, for the teachers, you have your students quietly occupied. You could use this time to get some work done or, following the theme of this blog, take the chance for a break yourself. Also, if ‘mindfulness’ is something you’re interested in pursuing with your students, there are plenty of other activities you could try. Or, if your classroom has computers, there are plenty of fun games you can play. Not that games are just useful for preventing burnout. They’re also a fantastic way to break the ice at the start of a new school year.
Then again, you don’t need to confine yourselves to the classroom either. If you’re making time for some light-hearted activities, why not take them outside? Or do something creative?
Ultimately, you have a wide range of possibilities, and you all will benefit from working to prevent burnout.