I interview an Educator On the Brink of Burn Out

Once again I sat in on a couple of interviews for a potential team member at my school. We were hiring for the an opening in the History department. I still felt uncomfortable sitting in as part of the interviewing team, but it would make sense for me to be there since it was my team and we needed to know if there would be a good fit.

Maybe we do things differently in Hawaii, but the Principal was cool about it. For the interviewee, however, it could be terrifying. It was a panel of educators grilling him/her with questions.

The first interviewee was flat-out terrible. He was certified to teach elementary school and secondary, but worked teaching 5th grade and needed a change. He’s been in the system for almost 20 years and still uses the Elmo projector. Serious? That’s as techie as he’s gotten? I’m a techie snob, but I’m sorry he needed to be up to par with teaching 21st century students and be way more computer savvy.

The next one was intimidating, just by resume alone. Why would  this candidate be leaving a top high-ranked school, after winning all kinds of national awards and teaching AP classes, basically doing whatever she wanted to come to a poor, struggling school in the ghetto?

She was professional. Knew what she wanted, and after being at the other school for 15 years, she needed a good change. Out of her mouth, she had said, she could do all that she could at that school with the students in that community.

Her heart as an educator shown through brightly, wanting to reach a community where she was from, grew up and knew the difficulties and challenges of a underprivileged school with struggling families just trying to pay the rent.

She admitted to being tired teaching at the high school level too. It was mandatory for every teacher at that high school to lead an after-school club or extra curricular activity. It being high school also meant that they were up late during prom seasons, dances or Project Grad chaperoning school events out of the classroom setting and contracted work hours.

It was honest, and I saw that her passion for teaching children was still alive and well. She was creative, and willing to share her experiences and I know I could learn a whole lot from her (should she accept the position).

But sometimes, when you’ve been doing the job for a while, it helps to see the job from another perspective. Even after all these years, day in, day out, and going through the rigmarole of day, teaching can lose it purpose and bring you down. It helps to step back, and resurface with that little reminder of why I became a teacher.

Sometimes the kids can drive you crazy, the parents definitely will, and other co-workers can either help or hinder the problem, but bottom line is there is a purpose and plan. I count my blessings, and catching the gems of hope in a student’s eye, or that hidden smile, reminds me that all that in not in vain – but can add to a meaningful life.

Have you ever been through tough situations but in the end it was worth it? It’s the journey, not the destination, right?

2 thoughts on “I interview an Educator On the Brink of Burn Out

  1. Interesting post. I know some people who got burnt out. From the outside, we always think hey it’s ten months of work but two months off. I appreciate all the great teachers that work with my Keikis and hope we aren’t a stress on their lives

    1. Thanks for the comment. Teachers in Hawaii have been fighting for a new contract, (small victory) but still the demands nationwide and the new common core initiative fo new educational reforms are always challenging, but all in the best interest of our keiki.

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