Sunday, 30 June 2013

30 Goals Challenge - 2. Avoid Burnout

Goal number two of Shelly Terrell's fourth cycle of her 30 Goals Challenge is to avoid burnout, something which affects many of us in what can be the all-consuming profession of ELT.  Shelly herself reflected on this goal in a blogpost which you can read here.  Before beginning writing this, I also read Vicky Loras's take on the subject.  Both Shelly and Vicky came up with practical ways to avoid burnout and I agree wholeheartedly with all of their points. 

For me, though, the key to avoiding burnout is to do what you love doing.  This rather cheesy cliché has real resonance for me:

A few years ago, a sudden and dramatic illness in the family caused my husband and I to rethink what we were doing with our lives.  We had always intended to retire abroad at some point and 'live the dream', but this was the catalyst we needed to bring our plans forward.  We sold everything we owned in the UK and moved to France, where we bought a seventeenth century water mill.  We spent the next couple of years working harder than we ever had before renovating the property, but we didn't begrudge a second of it because we were doing what we wanted to do! 

When the project went pear-shaped (it's a very long story!!), we had to reassess once more.  This time, the path we chose was for me to revisit my past as a teacher and bring my qualifications up to date as an EFL teacher.  So, began our adventure which has lasted eight years to date and has taken us to Turkey, Italy and, now, Vietnam. 

Over that time, there have been occasions when we've found ourselves in a less-than-ideal situation, but those have been few and far between and our answer has always been to move on, to seek a new challenge. 

I am a person who gives maximum commitment to any job that I'm doing.  I work long hours, including doing extra work at home in the evenings and at weekends, but there's no danger of burnout because 1. I love what I do and 2. I have the unconditional support of my husband.  I realise that I'm very lucky and that not everyone can make the same choices as we have (or, indeed, would want to!), but I do believe that everyone should aim to live their lives doing something they enjoy. 


  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences! I love how we aren't afraid to take a risk in order to move on, well, move forward.

    Be Grrat,


    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Dwight. Life is all about taking risks - otherwise how do we learn and grow? :-)