Burn Out

I think teaching has burnt me out. The other day I had this conversation with my inner self, which is okay, as this happens often. But it had never happened while I was standing in class teaching. Very odd. It went something like this.

Inner Self: “Did you not teach this topic to these same students before?” Self: “Oh God! Maybe I did.” So I ask the class – “Did I?”, and they reply, no, maybe, sort of.

Now, things are really bad when you teach the same thing too many times, and you have taught everything in your field there is to teach, and you go round and round with it in circles, not being able to keep it straight. No one should be allowed to teach too much. Inevitably, you begin to get bored with yourself.

There is a reason to teach a little and do a good job. It leaves time for research, which throws up new things to teach. There is a freshness when you do not teach things too often. The past few years I have been staving off the inevitable by trying to teach as many new things as I can, but there is only so far as you can go. This time, I decided to change my teaching style to keep from being bored, and so have been using Powerpoint, which I had solemnly committed to never doing. I must admit its made my prep much more organized, but has also escalated my in-class boredom.

I am also trying to cram awful quantities of material into each class, under the notion that if I do more, it may save me from dropping off while teaching. I can see this is taking a toll on students, who are running to keep pace. Slow down, slow down. Someone once said, prepare only half of what you think you can teach, and in class, deliver only half of that. Its best for students that way. Maybe its time for me to take this advice.

I guess the silver lining comes from the students – they are awfully alert and ask many good questions, saving me from complete meltdown. Many of them work all day and then come to class. So its time for me to get over the hump here. Fast.


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