Reflections on Burned Out Teachers   5 comments

I recently attended a course on PMR and SPM English teaching called ‘Meeting of Minds’, its a joint program from Sabah English Language Teachers’ Think Tank and JPN Sabah. The speaker Audrey Koh from SMK Majakir, Papar shared many things, whom i believe is relevant and useful to my own teaching as well. I However, left the course with this piece of thought….

Often we can see new teachers entering the service with full spirit and energy, trying to change the world. That is good and wonderful. However, often they have the spirit, but probably very little substance – they might be well equipped with the teaching methodology or pedagogical knowledge, but they often lack experience and ‘tools’ to do the trade. New teachers often have very little idea on how to teach kids with beginner proficiency to write a narrative, or to produce a summary. Desperate, they approach their senior teachers for help. If they’re lucky, they get help. If they don’t, they’ll be laughed at, and be told ‘buat pe kerja kuat sangat, kau ajar macam mana pun, tak pergi mana juga budak-budak ni’.

Those who are weak give in earlier, and end up being a ‘teacher 25’, those who wait for the 25th of the month to get their pay. Those who persisted will keep trying and trying, a small number would figure it out on their own, and become successful, the rest would eventually burn out, and give up as well. This could just be the reason why burned out teachers become fat (from eating too much), and do lots of funny side jobs.

I wonder, perhaps it could be possible to reduce the burnout rate if they are given help when they’re at the ‘trying hard’ stage? These new teachers will get assistance and support from external sources, and be equipped with new tricks to help their teaching. Hopefully, they could see encouraging results from what they learnt at courses for new teachers, and be determined to keep trying hard. Often we see new teachers being left at the sinkhole for too long, and when help comes, its too late – they stopped trying to get out from the hole, and resign to their fate.

This is what i observed amongst Sabah teachers, what about your place? lets talk.

5 responses to “Reflections on Burned Out Teachers

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  1. I’m burnt out with the school culture but not with my kids if you get what I mean?

  2. At the end of the day, the superior still wants to see good grade or even worse, 100% of passing rate.

  3. nige, in urban schools, it is not the fault of the students (or maybe teachers), but the admins. If you get a bad admin, you will be coming to school like a mouse in a trap, waiting to be swallowed by the cat. often time when you get scolded, your spirit will eventually deteriorate. in the end, you’ll have 2 camps, the ‘believers’ and teacher 25. if you are lucky, you will have another camp, which ignores everything and moves on like nothing happened.

    It actually depends on the school environment. surviving the kids is one thing, surviving the inconsiderate admins is another. of course you have expectations, but not to the expense of the teacher’s morale. and the workloads from top down will keep the pressure high on the admins.By the time the orders reach the teachers down here, we are already burned out and asking for a transfer

  4. Totally burnt out. School is just like a Dementor, sucks the happiness out of me. Totally agree with fayadh

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