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 Post subject: Burning Out
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2001 11:28 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
I think another thing one must really consider in the cycle of learning and doing and teaching is burnout. But especially in the context of teaching. Because it is in that area that we affect others.<P>No matter how much we love something, there may come a day when it may be time to take a sabbatical, a leave of absence, for a time or even permantentaly. I think that this is especially hard for the dance teacher. We have worked so hard to be where we are. We learned from our first plie' not to give up. We see giving in to our feelings sometimes as "failure".<P>But, there can come a time when what we are doing is no longer fun. The hardest part can be admitting it to ourselves. The symptoms can be legion - we feel harried, rushed, things that were interesting and worth doing simply are not any longer. It just seems like there is too much to do. Even the simplest part of the work is just too much. It can be puzzling because we loved it so much for so long. It was those very details that used to intrigue us. And, now they are just annoying. We put them off - "I'll do it later, when I am feeling better". Sometimes we blame others - "well, if that other teacher would just leave me alone, I would feel better about this", for instance.<P>This is a difficult admission to make. We try to "reason" it out. But it is difficult if not impossible to convince ourselves with reason when the love has gone. It may not be gone forever, but needs a rest. I think a teacher really has to be aware of this because others are affected. <P>We have a responsibility when we are mentors and examples, as teachers are, when the fire of our own enjoyment is burning low, to be very careful that our actions don't end up killing the joy in others. A teacher who is correcting in anger is an example we probably have all seen. <P>Everyone needs a rest now and then, and dance teachers no less...sometimes we forget we are human.<P>What say you?<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Burning Out
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2001 12:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 122
Location: Dortmund, NRW, Germany
I think it is really important for everybody to have a sabbical year time by time (all 7 years). I know, that I'm in a good position, because we have a lot of teachers here in the studio. <P>So, what other possibilities there are?<BR>Change classes? Sometimes I "hate" my advanced classes, so I quitt them and do only teach beginners. That may help.<P>Innervision can help also. Let other teachers watch your class and ask them their opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: Burning Out
PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2001 4:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 2708
Location: Seattle, WA USA
I agree wholeheartedly Basheva and Berry. Last summer I took off for the whole summer. I took yoga classes as much as possible, read a lot and travelled. It was great--I expanded my skills by learning new things and getting some new perspectives. <BR>Of course this is a luxury for many of us...not everyone has this choice. If you feel burned out, teach a different level, offer some new classes (stretch class, yoga class, etc), approach your old classes with new formats, structures and ideas. Have meetings/workshops with colleagues and fellow teachers to share ideas...it really helps, and you get inspired and have sparks of new ideas. I know it's hard sometimes. I had to teach for 2 years with a painful foot injury to put my husband through school and it was hell...I felt so dragged down, physically and emotionally. I thought seriously of leaving the field altogether. But I'm really glad I didn't. Like they say in the Jim Morrison song "Break on through to the other side"!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Burning Out
PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2001 5:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
I had a teacher once - for many years - who was a very fine teacher and a wonderful choreographer. However, it was very apparent for the last couple of years that he was immensely bored. He blamed the class, telling us we were not exciting him.<P>As we went through the class he would spend his time whistling to himself, and looking out the window. He left off bothering to construct new combinations for us - and yet that was a real skill that he had. He was more capable of creating a truly wonderful set of combinations than most teachers I have ever come across. I wondered why since he, and also now us,his students, were so bored with what was happening he didn't use this creative skill of his to spark the class.<P>I approached him one day and first complimented him on his wonderful creativity and suggested that it would be wonderful to have him use that skill to set combinations for the class. He responded very positively. And, the next class was really terrific. He told me afterwards that he had really enjoyed teaching that class for the first time in a very long time.<P>However, in just the next few days he had lapsed back into his old combinations, over and over again, the bored look back on his face. It was very sad. I don't think that he wanted to admit to himself that he needed a rest from teaching.


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 Post subject: Re: Burning Out
PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2001 4:52 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 130
Location: Pa, USA
I agree completely Basheva (and all others *S*) we do need to realize our limitations as well. Next year I'm taking a sabbatical of sorts from my satellite studio setting and "just" teaching/directing at our main studio here. (eleven years of extra travels--I need a break!) Additionally (as I stated in our "merit of teaching 3-5 yr olds) I'm taking a year off from the three-year old class structure to check out some new work/music and re-work my own syllabus goals for that age group. <P>Just dropping even those few classes will make a huge difference in how I approach the rest of my work...I'm even considering taking off for the summer Image but I feel too many students need a local outlet to dance at as they cannot all afford summer intensives elsewhere.


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