We’ve all experienced it at one point or another—that feeling where you’ve reached your tipping point and you’re hanging on by a thread. Here are some strategies to help you avoid burnout. Consider these tips and tricks before the start of the next school year because a strong start will help you avoid some fatigue.
Create a Student-Driven Classroom
One secret to avoiding burnout is to set yourself up for success at the beginning of the school year. You can do that by building and fostering a student-driven classroom. Creating an environment where students drive the learning takes time and practice. Once students are in a position where they are the ones doing the heavy lifting of thinking, collaborating, and learning, your focus can shift to the in-the-moment support of individual students that makes teaching so engaging and effective.
With PhD Science®, you don’t have to look far to find support for building a student-driven classroom.
Become familiar with the Teacher Edition ahead of teaching to get a sense of where the learning is headed. Once you have the map, your students can do the driving. Their journey might take them down alternate routes, but the destination is what matters. As you begin preparing, you can collaborate with other grade-level teachers or spend a few minutes each day reviewing videos in the Module Study Series to get a high-level overview of the module you’re teaching.
PhD Science is crafted around student-centered instruction. Students become more responsible for their own learning and are more independently engaged in small group and partner tasks, freeing some of your time for materials management. After year one of teaching PhD Science, you’ll know what to expect, how to prepare, and have more familiarity with the content.
Customize Curriculum Materials Sparingly
PhD Science offers ample opportunities for hands-on activities and cross-content connections, including art integration. By simply following the curriculum, you’re giving your students what they need to succeed.
Do your best to refrain from supplementing thematic content. We as teachers want to do it all, all the time. But just because students are learning about the sun doesn’t mean you need to attach a poem or art piece to the module. There’s also no need to add extra content to lessons, as lessons are designed to meet the depth of the standards. Keep it simple and trust the curriculum, customizing only when necessary to support individual student success.
Plan for Practice and Routines
Investing in deliberate practice and establishing routines will keep burnout in check. Putting in the effort throughout the school year, especially at the beginning, will make your life easier.
PhD Science often has students making observations, asking questions, constructing explanations and explaining their reasoning, and engaging in collaborative conversations with each other. Be sure to explicitly build these skills at the beginning of the school year.
While some educators have already made the shift to student-centered instruction, others may still find it challenging. If you find yourself needing additional support in implementing our high-quality curriculum, learn more about our professional learning opportunities.
Become familiar with curriculum resources, including the free Teacher Resource Pack. Additional supports like Instructional Routines or Collaborative Conversation Prompts in the Implementation Guide can be found in the pack.
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Sally Robichaux is an implementation support specialist on the PhD Science team who creates and facilitates sessions and workshops that support teachers during different phases of implementation. Before joining Great Minds, Sally taught Prekindergarten and Kindergarten at various schools in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and also worked as an applied behavior analyst and transitional kindergarten teacher at the Emerge School for Autism.