When it comes to job satisfaction people throw around the phrase “what you put into it, is what you get out of it”.
If that’s true, then why do I hear so many teachers tell me: “All I’ve been doing is putting my heart, soul and effort into this job – and getting back nothing but stress and irritation. How can I be feeling this bad about something that I thought I was putting such a positive effort into?”
Sound familiar? Sure it does – who hasn’t been there?
It’s that that we shouldn’t put heart, soul and effort into our jobs – its’ that we have to look at the outcome of what we want and see if what we’re “putting into it” is congruent.
In a year, or 2 or 5 – what do you want out of your teaching life and non-teaching life? How do you want to feel emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally?
If, for example, you want to have energy to enjoy with your family, time to do a hobby, feel fulfilled, busy but not frazzled, excited not worn out….then you can’t be running 4 extra-curricular activities a week, working through every lunch, taking home marking and prep for 3 hours a night, and planning 5 field trips, 2 fundraisers and tutoring – and that’s before you get to your own personal life. It doesn’t match up.
You might do it all with passion – but what you are putting in is work without boundaries, limitations or an understanding of what your body and spirit needs for recuperation – so what you’ll get out of it is passion running on empty –otherwise known as burnout.
Think of the outcome, and plan what you do in the day-to-day to meet that outcome. And check in with yourself – is your plan working? Are there times you can give more – or less – or differently? Truly commit to putting into it what you want to get out of it!