The Question That Banished My Burnout

I vowed to myself I’d never teach again. I was burned out.

It wasn’t the under-the-desk texting. [Dude! Put your hands ON the desk!]

It wasn’t the pay. [Shit. I’ve done harder work for no money. See – ‘parenting’.]

It wasn’t the administration. [I had great bosses who hired me to do good work – and left me alone to do it.]

Simply: it was grading papers. UGH.

I’d poured gallons of ink onto many shitty papers.

Provided workshops. Asked questions.

Gave feedback and – yes – criticism.

Aaaaaannnnndddd the shitty papers continued. Nothing seemed to help anyone – or improve the work they submitted.

I was done.

So in May 2017, I had to think hard about whether I wanted to return to the community college & teach my personal development class – and grade their inevitably crappy papers.

As I considered it in a conversation with my boss, she shrugged at my complaints about grading.

“So!?”, she scoffed. “Design the course without the grading & assignments you normally do. Make grades based on something else.”

Old-Timey Jen would’ve said, [in a horrified, pearl-clutching voice…]


I can’t!

That’s ABSURD.

GRADING PAPERS is what everything is based on!!

There’s JUST NO WAY!!!”

I knew I’d come a long way when I said instead, “Hmph. Well. That’s interesting. Let me figure out how to do it.”

So I did. I worked on the HOW all summer.

Listened to my brain and gut; sat with possibility.

The HOW became easier when I got really clear on my WHY.

I love to help students grow. This class allows me to help people who cannot afford private coaching.

I love teaching it and hate grading papers. I had to figure out how to merge the two.

The HOW? It always works itself out. You just have to give yourself permission to figure some shit out. You just have to think you can.

Remove the ‘can’t’, stand back – and watch out. You are going to do something incredible that makes you happy – and that you can’t have imagined doing even last year!

Here’s some cool data – I’ve changed my assignments & my approach.

So far, this semester’s class has handed in 150% more of their homework than any of my previous classes have.

They are engaged in a way I haven’t seen in years!

Last week one guy said to me, “Mrs. Liddy? This class is DOPE.”

Dang. That was worth asking “How can I?” and sitting in it all summer while planning.

Best damn thing I’ve heard all month.

Need help getting ‘can’t’ out of your head? Want to learn how to dwell in possibility?

Shoot me your comment or question – I would love to hear from you!

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