Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Avoiding Burnout through Prayer

Don't let the title scare you! This isn't some "convert to Jesus only he will save you" post. However, I know it is summer now and many of us are recharging our batteries. I know this mainly because I have seen a lot of posts lately on teacher burnout and how teachers handle it.

My friend and I at our First Holy Communion
(I am the brunette on the right)
Before I start, please be patient with me as I explain my religious background. When I was a baby, I was baptized into the Catholic Church. I had a horrible fever and went to the hospital soon after! This began my tumultuous relationship with the Catholic Church. I don’t often discuss my faith, as I am at a battle with how to define it, or how it defines me depending on how you look at it. Nonetheless, when I was younger, I went to Catholic school preschool through eighth grade. I received my first holy communication, reconciliation, and confirmation. Despite my struggles with my faith I will always consider myself a Catholic, though at times a lapsed one.

Why am I writing about my religious upbringing when talking about burnout? I want you to know a bit about where I am on the “religious person” scale before I suggest this book. Just as I believe most of the messages in The Bible are for everyone (e.g. be nice, don’t kill, lying is bad), I also believe that this book is helpful for teachers who don’t have any Christian beliefs.

Update: This book is no longer available on Amazon. I am keeping the post here because the concepts are still valuable. If I discover the book again, I'll update the link. The book is called, "Teachers' Devotions to Go" by Diane Stark. She wrote 32 chapters that follow a simple pattern. First there’s a bible excerpt. Then there’s a story about teaching; she ends the story by connecting it to her relationship to God, and with a sample prayer for the reader to use. Most of the prayers thank God, or ask for assistance. Finally the chapter ends with a, “Time Out.” These are like little homework assignments. They are easy tasks to complete to make your life a bit easier.

Now, for those of you who are wondering how on Earth this is related to teacher burn out let me share some of the easy tasks she shares in the “Time Outs”:
  • Don’t talk about the negative. Enjoy the positive. Write down 10 things you like about your school, class, etc. and focus on those.
    • This is great advice for every teacher regardless of religious beliefs!
  • Instead of worrying pray about it
    • OK, I get how this one may be harder for non-religious teachers. However, to me prayer is very similar to meditating. All she is really saying is don’t overthink things you can’t control! If you are worried about something take some deep breaths and decide if you can or cannot do anything. If you can, then do it! If not, move on.
  • Take a mini-vacation. Even just an hour at a new cafĂ©.
    • Here’s another one I think where I think anyone could benefit. By taking a little time to “get away from it all,” we avoid overloading ourselves!
I don’t completely agree with everything that Diane says, but I am a teacher! When I don’t like someone else’s lesson plan I can almost always find a way to adapt it to best suit my class. This book is similar. She’s giving us the lesson plan that she finds works best for her. Take the ideas that you like and use them! Take the ones you don’t like and adapt them to better suit your life.

 Since I am type of the person who thinks of prayer more as meditation, I don’t tend to use pre-written prayers. However, if you are the type of person who likes pre-written prayers "40 Prayers for Teachers"
 is a nice collection.

I am curious, how many people who read this blog consider themselves religious? I try to keep my religion out of my job (and thus this blog), but I do feel that being Catholic is a part of who I am. 


  1. As a Christian school teacher, I am blessed to teach alongside colleagues who believe similarly to me and work with students and families who also share that belief. A product of public school (K-12), I never wanted to teach in Christian school, but when the job offers started coming, it looked like private school was the niche for me. Now, I can't imagine NOT teaching in a Christian school. I've come to realize that education is best when teaching to the whole person -- not just the mind but also the body and the spirit.

    However, with that said, I love that the education social media scene is faith-agnostic. While I also try to keep my faith out of my blog (but sometimes I can't resist), I love that no one seems to care that I teach in a Christian school. We find a way to get along regardless of what we believe. We find ways to work together and learn from each other! Love it! :)

    1. I am not sure if I could teach some of my lessons at a Christian school. I like working with polemic topics (abortion, homosexuality, etc.) and I am not sure many Christian schools would encourage this. In fact I have seen quite a few that clearly state in their applications they would not accept this.

      I do agree that it is nice to see teachers so accepting of another despite their different beliefs!

    2. Agreed. A lot has to do with the focus of the school. Some Christian schools are quite dogmatic and are unwilling to open up the conversation to those topics -- or if they are discussed to have them so slanted in the direction of the school's stand that it's silly to have those talks. However, some schools (and I'd like to think mine is in this category) realize students will discuss them somewhere and it's our obligation to have a voice in those topics. However, as a computer teacher, my biblical integration doesn't stray too far from digital citizenship. :)

      It's all a matter of school culture.


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