Blah blah blog…how do YOU stay passionate?

Tired_and_Uninspired_by_twinphotographyWhen I was in high school, one of my real passions was learning languages. I took every single course I was ever offered, even if that meant coming in early at 7:30 am or studying over the summer break. I took Spanish, French, Italian, Latin, and Greek and had they offered ancient church slavonic, I probably would have taken that too. However, I knew that I never wanted to be a languages teacher because I didn’t want my career to kill my passion. I wanted to keep it as a hobby; a personal interest that would not get squashed because I was forced to teach it to students who did not share in my gluttony for polyglotism. In Canada, French is a required subject and therefore you may be stuck with a class of 35 fourteen-year olds that have little interest and even less ability in the language. It sounded like torture. Little did I know that becoming a biology teacher has now actually increased my love of science far beyond what I had expected! Anyways, the point of this blog post is that lately, despite my intrinsic interest, I am finding that my attention span for learning about education and improving my practice is waning. Big time. I am constantly inundated on twitter with new information and posts like “5 billion new awesome apps on the iPad that you must know now!” or “Flipped learning is great – no wait it’s bad!” I’m just finding myself so overwhelmed that my natural instinct is to tune out and watch brainless TV like Dr. Phil (oh wow this mom glued her kid to the wall…crazy!). Yet I see so many of my colleagues, on their summer holiday, still engaged with learning. Still blogging, reading, thinking, reflecting, planning and creating. I started out with great intentions and motivation…but I feel like I’m losing steam. It doesn’t help that I only see my family and friends once a year because I live abroad and want to spend lots of time with them. And the weather outside is so gorgeous – I want to go out and play! So my questions to all of my colleagues out there are:

How do you stay motivated? How do you keep your passion alive?

Are you feeling burnt out or overwhelmed like me?

What do you do to find balance?

Would love to hear from you!

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5 thoughts on “Blah blah blog…how do YOU stay passionate?

  1. “How do you stay motivated? How do you keep your passion alive?”
    Sometimes just taking a break helps me re-charge and makes me able to dive back into things with renewed passion. Often times when I’m engaged in other activities or reading non-education-type-stuff I find that I do start to make connections to my teaching practice. So even though I’m doing something else I’m not really neglecting my passion for education.

    “Are you feeling burnt out or overwhelmed like me?”
    At times. That’s when I know that I need to take a break!

    “What do you do to find balance?”
    Recognizing when life isn’t balanced isn’t always easy, and once you do realize there’s a lack of balance, it isn’t always easy to fix. Sometimes, as you mentioned, I feel inundated with information. That’s when I have to consciously tell myself that I don’t have to read *every* new tweet about flipclass, or inquiry learning or… I trust that I have a wonderful Professional Learning Network who will help me out down the road if I decide I really need a certain link. Lately I’ve also found it very liberating to go into my Google Reader and delete feeds or just mark a whack of them as ‘read’. I’ll also consciously reduce the amount of time that I’m on Twitter.

    You mentioned that right now so many of your friends are blogging, reflecting, tweeting etc. You don’t have to though. As for blogging; I write sporadically on my blog because it is my space to reflect, not because I’m trying to build up a readership or because I feel I have to post regularly. And Twitter? I spend days at a time where I don’t go on Twitter… and I survive! And I don’t seem to lose followers because of it 😉

    It sounds like right now you are spending time reconnecting with friends and family; no doubt a much needed change of scene. Your passion for education is still there; you’re just feeding the other parts of your life right now.

    Thanks for getting me to think more deeply about these issues, and sorry for the lengthy comment. I hope you get lots of time to play while the sun shines 😉

    1. Hi Claire!

      Thank you so much for your comment. I know you are right. If I don’t check Twitter or write in my blog for one day, the world won’t end! I like what you said about “feeding the other parts of your life.” And that’s exactly what I have to do. It’s easy for me to get caught up in my work and neglect those other parts. I have to remind myself that it’s ok to take a break in order to refresh and recharge – and as you said, find inspiration in unlikely places. I don’t have to keep up with everybody else – what I need to do is find a pace that keeps me going without burning out. I appreciate your response and insight! I’m off to my friend’s pool for the day! Gotta enjoy the sunny weekend 🙂

  2. Mike

    If you are feeling burned out and overwhelmed trying to do work-related things on your summer break, then stop for a while! I had all these grand ambitions for school-related stuff I was going to get done over the summer. But when I didn’t feel like working on it, I…didn’t. I spent two entire weeks playing Xbox and reading for pleasure. After I took a break, I felt more like doing work stuff so I did. I lurk on Twitter because I enjoy not, not out of any sense of obligation.

    You will have the entire next school year to focus on education-related things, so if you aren’t in the mood right now you are better off not to force yourself! Go enjoy your family and your summer and recharge your mental batteries for what lies ahead!

    The lady who glued her kid to the wall WAS crazy, by the way! 🙂

  3. I know I’m soooooo laaaaaate on this, but maybe my advice is valuable (?). Totally give yourself a break ever now and then. Read a regular book (not a school one)…for funsies! Don’t read one of those mindless chick lit ones, but don’t get knee deep in a serious one either. BJD! Reading helps me turn my mind off.

    Also, I don’t know if you do this, but don’t take your computer/iPad/work to bed. Bed is sleep space, not work space. Helps disconnect and keep part of your home space separate from work.

    Drink loads of water while working…it will force you to take breaks (and keep you healthy!)

    Cook. Cooking helps me shut off work because I HAVE to focus on what I’m doing so I don’t burn myself / the flat down. I know you don’t love cooking, but once a week, make something that requires your full attention, but won’t kill your entire evening. And hey – then you have something super yummy!

    Get creative. Remember Jones and her mindmapping? I did it the other day for a re-brand exercise at work and it was so much fun. It was also ridiculously productive and got me really excited about the brand and the work we were going forward with. I turned away from my computer, plugged my headphones into my iPhone iTunes (iKnow……), got out my markers, and made something super pretty. It was nice to feel like a 16 year old again.

    Reignite that passion for languages – I love taking Spanish classes right now. Keeps me learning, gives me time when I have to take a break from work, and is a productive contribution to my career and personal goals. I know you were thinking of picking up Cantonese – do it! It’s on my list for 2013/14. Gotta manage Spanish first 🙂

    Mini-breaks. Even a day or two away helps me refocus. Do little day trips and explore parts of HK you’ve never explored before. Once a month, take a Saturday or Sunday and go for a hike, try a new restaurant, have a picnic, check out a beach…really, the opportunities are endless in HK!

    Hope that helps!

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