So why is it, exactly, that I have taught for almost 18 years now without fear of burnout?
I consider this week, a week so crazy I think it took me until Thursday before I had a real planning time longer than 15 minutes. A week so nuts that I was up every night late grading, planning, and catching up on house work I couldn’t ignore.
What was there to love about a week like that?
That the third graders in my math group use the word “theory” when discussing how to do a tricky homework problem.
That a teacher told me I made her think of gifted kids from a new perspective.
That my former students, now big bad eighth-graders, gave me a cheerful greeting in the junior high hallway.
That the kids in my storytelling group recognize each others’ talents and eagerly cheer each other on. That they brag about each other to the substitute teacher.
That I have third through fifth grade kids in my writing group who choose topics for writing like abandonment. Children with siblings who have special needs. The rapid population of Heaven after the Mayan apocalypse. A poor kid and a rich one who find themselves drawn together. A shy hippo who has some really great friends.
That my fifth grade math students thank me after math every single day. Ok, so one of them confided in me that it was part of a bet (that he, of course, wasn’t part of), but I’ll take what I can get.
That I have a vocabulary group using the introduction of Beowulf in their study of the history of the English language.
That the kindergarten kid I worked with in math counts forward and backward through the ten thousands.
That every day, I get to look into the eyes of dozens of students and see sincerity, kindness, and an irrepressible love for learning.
They don’t just help me avoid burnout, they inspire me to come each day, each year, with renewed passion and energy.