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I'm the 2010 National Teacher of the Year and Laureate Emeritus for Teaching Channel.

My name is Sarah Brown Wessling, I'm a high school English teacher who has opened up her classroom to teachers around the world using the power of video.

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  • How do you avoid burnout?

    Thank you for teaching Sarah. How do you personally prevent burnout as a teacher when teaching students with high energy? Do you have a TA to help with the load?

    Sarah Brown Wessling's avatar image.

    What a fantastic question, Gerald. One of my most beloved writers about education, Parker Palmer, says we teach who we are. I believe this and that means I am a better teacher when I am a more fulfilled and complete person. In other words, I avoid burnout by remembering to live a full life that can intersect with my teaching life.

    This means I surround myself with other positive people and educators. It means that I cultivate a robust network of the people who will both challenge and lift me up (it's why professional organizations are so important). It means that I take time to read and write, to run and travel, to try something new. It means that I'm dedicated to being fully present with my own children so that I can also be present to my students when I'm with them.

    The biggest nemesis, for me, in maintaining a balance is always the paper load, especially as an English teacher. I don't have a TA because we don't use those in our high schools, but even if I did have one, I know that much of my most important teaching comes in the feedback I give to students, so it's not just grading all of those papers, it's thinking about all of those students that takes time.