EuroCALL 2002, Aug. 14-17

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Is This Burnout or Is It Friday Already?
Creativity and Quality Hampered by Increased Loads

Barbara S. Andrews, of Toledo, Ohio, posted a note on the FLTEACH listserv the other day, putting into words a feeling with which many teachers may identify. In her e-mail agreeing to have her comments published on ESL MiniConference Online, Ms. Andrews explained, "I wrote it after a horrible day--Friday--when everything that could go wrong did go wrong, so it's on the negative side, but hopefully things will improve next week!!!"

I feel so discouraged about the lack of time for planning, and I only have one prep every day! Frankly, we are given so many useless tasks to do by administrators that I seem to struggle more every year just to get the bare minimum done.

I am thinking of abandoning some of the "extra" things I have been doing over the years, such as sending weekly printouts of students in danger of failing to their parents. I am not sure it is doing much good anyway!

I was thinking of trying to do a distance-learning project next year in collaboration with one of the core teachers, but when do I find the time to do it? A friend of mine who is an expert on the subject says it takes 40 hours of preparation to do just one hour of distance learning. Our school just acquired all of this expensive distance-learning equipment and is practically begging us to use it, but at the same time they are demanding more and more paperwork from us.

We have TONS of technology in our building now--which they are after us all the time to use--and yet half the time when I plan projects or activities involving technology, the server is down or the Internet isn't working. Now I'm considered by some to be a technology NUT, but this is just not acceptable. Yesterday the server was off and on because they were doing some maintenance or something at the high school. Now why couldn't they do that in the summer when school was out instead of at the end of the year when so many of us are trying to wrap up projects???

When administrators wanted to triple our workload for next year, I was in total shock. How can they think this won't affect the quality of teaching? Fortunately, we have staved off that plan for another year, but frankly, I am just flabbergasted that administrators are so oblivious to the time issue. It is obvious that they have no idea how much time I am already devoting to schoolwork at home, nor do they care.

Comment by Barbara S. Andrews
Foreign Language Teacher
Toledo, Ohio

2002 ESL MiniConference Online