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This post is part of our Teacher PD Launchpad > Cultivate Empathy

How BurnIn Mental Strategies Can Improve an Educator’s Experience

Teaching is a challenge, these young humans deserve the world, and we want to give it to them. Let’s talk about these challenges, especially during a global pandemic. It can be stressful, overwhelming, frustrating, maddening, hopeless, unmanageable. The list could go on and on about all the things we as teachers feel. This mindset can start to bog us down leading us to second guess ourselves. Ultimately, we as educators, have to figure out not only how to break free from this but also how to get ahead of it stronger than we were before.

Educators at Rocketship have the opportunity to attend a BurnIn Mindset training, where they learn clear tips that most of us educators already do on a weekly or daily basis. We wanted to lay them out so we can all remember to utilize these great strategies, become more aware of their impact and benefits, and hopefully start using them more frequently.

1. Identify and define signature strengths.
This is the strength test BurnIn used, but there are many different ones out there. Find one that works best for you! Start each meeting spotting strengths (you can also do this personally by setting a time for yourself to reflect by yourself). Highlight your strengths and how you were showing those strengths in class, in a meeting, or in your personal life. Strength spot your teammate and even your students! This is a great way to remind yourself that you are out here doing your best.

2. Actively engage in conversation – with peers, mentors, and in personal relationships.
This starts with you or a co-worker sharing some positive news! What went well in class today? What data are you excited about? Who participated in class that is normally shy? What cool new activity did you try over the weekend? ANYTHING – as long as it’s positive. Be an “Active-Constructive Conversationalist.” This means you are listening, responding to a colleague with questions, and strength spotting. Responding positively and asking questions can build a stronger more positive connection. This is extremely important, especially in times of isolation, we need those connections!

3. Be Resilient
You may be thinking, “Sure, this is common sense!”  We hear ya! But, hear us out. We are going to go into a little more detail here together. Resilience is a bigger skill that has smaller steps to it.
Self-awareness: Identify your thoughts, feelings, emotions, behaviors, and patterns. Identify negative thoughts and start to counter them with your strength spotting.
Self-regulation: Slowing down and considering your momentary emotions before acting.
Mental-agility: problem-solving, innovation, and flexibility. Reaching out for different perspectives can help us gain a deeper understanding.

4. Avoid Thinking Traps
We all know that there are a lot of things out of our control. One of the hardest things is accepting the lack of control. Watch out for personalizing, over-generalizing, and catastrophizing. Here is an example one teacher did with her coach during distance learning.

Let’s start challenging these beliefs with thoughts like “I can do this.” “What can I continue to do?” “I gave it 100%.“Remember to find those strengths! Communicate. Connect. Grow. We got this!

Published on February 25, 2022

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