TRANSCRIPT: 3 Strategies for Coping With & Preventing Educator Burnout (feat. Molly Davis from Wild Goose Counseling & the Beautiful Boundaries Bootcamp)
2:06PM Jan 25, 2022
You are a renewable resource. So if you want some help with this one, I recommend thinking of yourself like a, like your bamboo forest or, you know, pick whatever renewable resource you want, but one that will renew itself with a little time. And you actually have this ever refilling energy bucket, I kind of think about inside. But it has to have some time and space to renew itself in order to keep giving. So in this, on the one hand, we can give and give and give and give as humans but on the other hand, we can't give without any breaks. It doesn't, you can't just dump it out and expect it to keep pouring. But if you think of yourself as a renewable resource, like a bamboo forest, you can harvest it use it that's fantastic, but it needs some time to come back up. If you can start thinking about yourself using yourself sustainably, then you can actually meet some needs and you can continue to meet you will meet way more needs that way than you will meet if you pull yourself up to the point of exhaustion.
I'm Nikki Herta and this is bright stories of hope and innovation in Michigan classrooms. A podcast where we celebrate our state's educators and explore the future of learning. Right is brought to you in part by Meemic insurance company, insuring the educational community for more than 70 years. teachers and school employees visit meemic.com/quote to see how much you can save. In today's episode of bright a chat with Molly Davis, a counselor and psychotherapist from Alaska, who runs an eight week online boundaries intensive, the beautiful boundaries boot camp, which is designed for professional women who may cognitively understand what boundaries are but struggled to implement them in everyday life, work and relationships. After following Molly's popular wildgoose counseling Facebook page for some time, I officially met her last fall when I participated in her eight week boundaries bootcamp. The experience was incredibly eye opening. And along the way, I met many other amazing women undergoing similar journeys. In this episode, Molly dives into the relationship between boundaries and burnout. She has a bit of wisdom about how she walks this line is professional counselor, and offers three strategies for coping with and preventing educator burnout. Well, Molly, I'm delighted to have you on our podcast today. And obviously, this is a delight for me because I know you personally and have worked with you through your boundary boot camp. But I was wondering for our listeners, if you could just tell us a little bit about who you are what you do. So just give us a little background.
Yeah, I'd be glad to. And thank you for having me. So my name is Molly Davis, and I am a counselor, a psychotherapist and I run a little private practice appear in Alaska. And I get to see a lot of teachers that way. And I teach some college classes from time to time, usually for graduate students. And I also have a online program for women helping them get healthy boundaries. Oh, and I'm a mom. I've got five kids actually. All of whom are grown up except the very last one. And so that keeps me plenty busy.
Alright, and a new thing that we're doing for this season is we're asking everybody, what is the most interesting thing you're doing professionally right now.
So I've had this dream for a while it's like just this itch inside of me to, to compile some stuff that I've just been collecting about boundaries that I just noticed as a constant need and almost everybody that I work with, and I thought, man, somebody needs to put the stuff together and make like a program. And then I was like, Oh, maybe I should put this stuff together and make a program and and so I finally did this year and it is a blast. I am loving it. It is super, super fun.
Well, obviously I can personally say that I'm very deeply grateful that you did take this inner feeling that you had that somebody needs to do this and that you did it because that's how I met. That's how I met Molly. And that's have met and a lot of a lot of other awesome women who are working on boundaries. And if you're not familiar with what boundaries are, we're gonna we're gonna dive into that pretty quick here. So So today we are going to be talking about three strategies for coping with and preventing educator burner. I think anybody in education is aware that there are really high rates of burnout right now. And I was just wondering, Molly, if we could first start to unpack a few key terms. So how is it that you define burnout? What typically causes it and what are the effects?
Burnout can happen in almost any area? of life, we'll use it today kind of talking about workplace in burnout is chronic workplace stress to set them there's always stress in almost any job. But this is chronic stress, that leads to absolute energy depletion and exhaustion. Any passion joy is gone, there's a inability to even connect really to the job, there's no carrying anymore. And, and often, it's not just neutral. Often, as burnout progresses, it becomes really, really negative. There's just a real resentments, and negativity, there's no hope or faith that anything could get better in a situation. I actually, there's quite a few different studies about this, because it there's a lot of money lost in worker burnout. So there's an interest in doing research about it, it decreases, decreases the immune system impairs relationships at home friendships, I mean, it actually has think about we spend most of our time, you know, nine to five, five days a week ish, in at work. And so if that's a miserable place to be, it's no small wonder that it ends up spilling over into almost every other area. That's kind of a big deal. Let's,
you know, make the connection back then to education. I know, you said that you work with a lot of different educators. Are you seeing that? And educators? Are you seeing what you would classify as burnout?
We're kind of noticing this as a national conversation, probably a worldwide conversation in many ways. But yeah, I think, I think there are already some, some tricky things in working in education that can lead to burnout anyways, which we'll kind of get into in a bit, but adding the stresses of the pandemic, and not just the stressors of the pandemic, but everyone's different opinions about how the pandemic should be handled. And, you know, educators kind of on the front lines of whatever experiments version is happening in their school district, and how it's going to be handled, and facing the repercussions of that on whatever level, I think, you know, parents upset that it just trying to figure out how to educate from home, from the kids home with kids in the classroom catching COVID That it's like, you know, there's there's no winning or losing. And so I think that's taken what was already kind of, it could be a real tough job, and just exponentially increased the possibility of burnout.
And I one thing that I resonated with that you said, you know, just from what I've heard and seen talking to other educators is, you know, you said something about, like, oh, the passion is gone? You can't you don't you know, you want to care, but you can't or, and I think that is a real tension, at least with some of the educators I've talked to, because they do care about students so much. And I know, so many educators have left education, and just, it really broke their heart because they do care. You know, and it's hard to have those opposing forces, like in your own heart,
I think. Yeah, I totally agree.
So, let's see if we can make the connection to boundaries, would you mind giving us a definition of what boundaries are and why they're so important?
Absolutely. It'd be kind of quick one, but so boundaries are basically the lines where something starts and stops, so that the lines that let us know, here, here's if we think about him in a practical physical way, you know, the road is, is is a boundary, it's, here's where you drive, and then you know, the side of the road is, is not the road, don't drive there, you'll end up in a ditch. You know, so boundaries in an interpersonal way. And in our workplace, a lot of times they're invisible, but they are the lines that say here, this is your responsibility, this is not your responsibility, this is your job, this is not your job. This is so boundaries can be not just again, not just physical, they can even be emotional. Like here's, here's where I'm going to care, here's where I'm not going to care, you know. And this is really tricky, because most of us never learned any of this stuff ever, you know. So, as adults, we're usually kind of making it up as we go and trying to figure out where exactly these lines are. And it's tricky.
You know, we talk about this in our in our boot camp, but I think a lot of us just didn't even know the concept existed. You know, we never once had thought about where we stop and where we start. It just wasn't even even a consideration. I think somebody described it as like, you know, a fish being in water. You're just so used to being in water that you didn't think to even pay attention to it. And I'm actually just got Britney Browns Atlas of the heart. Have you seen that just came out and she has a little section on bounce boundaries. And I flipped to that, you know, knowing we're going to talk about this. And her definition is, you know, well, she quotes a friend of hers, but it's what is okay and what's not okay. And I, you know, would you be able to make a little connection for us between boundaries and burnout?
Yeah. So what happens in burnout is we give to the point of depletion, we, what happens a lot of times, and there's there's different types of burnout, but for most educators, the type of burnout they're going to be dealing with. And there is a type of burnout that happens when you're in a job, you just can't stand and it's really boring. That's a different kind of burnout, you're not challenged enough. But for most educators, it's good grief. What are you not asked to do? How, you know, there is a never ending list of things that you're supposed to kind of carry on your shoulders, not just you know, whether it's, it might be coursework, but it's also emotional, you know, caregiving, all sorts of stuff, keeping to a schedule, you know, meeting with parents just there's, there's so many things that educators are responsible for, and, and how can they do all those things? Well, and especially for people who like to do things well and care, when you have more things to do, than you can possibly do, you start doing things at a mediocre level, or you don't get them all done, or you just simply can't do them, you don't have the resources to do all the things you're being told you have to do. And that is the type of burnout I see most commonly in educators, and is what I hear talked about as well.
Or they give, you know, they do all the things and they do their best to do them really well. And then don't get sleep don't get to have their you know, family time and and all that. So yeah, totally.
Yes. So boundaries are the lines of like, what am I responsible for? What am I not responsible for? You know, how are you supposed to have healthy boundaries, when you're being told you're responsible for all the things like, what, where are the lines?
Can you tell us about a time when you first realized how important boundaries are for preventing burnout?
So as a therapist, I'm in the helping professions, you know, so there's some some crossover, you know, a lot of people who care for people that we work with, and help them in various ways, you know, when exactly should you stop helping what you know, in situations where there's never enough help? You know, where, where exactly are those lines, I don't remember when I was just first entering into counseling, I would meet with people and care very much about them. I like pretty much love everybody I ever worked with. And as soon as I hear someone's story, I'm like, I'm yours for life. And so I would care deeply. And we would work for hour of psychotherapy. And then what happens is they'd go home, but I'd take them home with me, in my heart, in my mind at 3am Morning, waking up going, Oh, I know. You know, part of this was because I was brand new, and I'm still trying to figure out how to help. So some of this wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I was like, Man, I better get to training in this or teach. I never got prepared for this. But 90% of that was just bad boundaries. And and so and this is the reason for a lot of counselors, burnout, I believe counselors leave the field in five years at a pretty astronomical rate. Actually, there's this, you know, similar burnout problem. And I learned, it was very counterintuitive, and it seemed like it at first it seemed like I was being a real jerk. To myself, I had a little conflict with myself as I set this boundary with myself, but I decided I can care I can give 100% of myself, from three o'clock to four o'clock when I see Jenny, I'm just making up a name here. But if I keep if I take Jenny with me, in my heart, and in my mind, if she goes past three o'clock, that three o'clock four o'clock spot, then I'm not going to be here next year to help Jenny further or to help any other Jenny's that may come along. Like if I'm going to help this Jenny, I need to keep her right in her time spot. And I began kind of learning how to at three o'clock, I'm all yours. And at four o'clock. I'm not this is your one and only life and I trust you to live it. And I'm here to help in my assigned time to help and care is from three to four. And that way, you know, I still absolutely love what I do. Like I don't think I ever want but I'm really strict about when I care, which is it's a funny thing. It's counterintuitive, but it really works.
That's actually really cool to hear the Not Not that you went through that, you know, you know it's cool to hear what one of the first times you really realized it within yourself within your professional life because I have always wondered that too you know how to counselors do it you know, like how do you not take everything with you? And I have to imagine teachers feel the same way and I've heard them say that, you know, like, driving home just going through that mental checklist of you know, so and so forgot. Why did they have their glasses today? You know, they weren't able to see I should call mom I should check on him. You know, I should you know, I wonder if something's going on at home. All these like constant worry they so I imagine that's probably relatable.
I think so to know if there's a real real similarities.
I'm Nikki Herta and you're listening to bright stories of hope and innovation in Michigan classrooms. Bright is brought to you in part by Meemic insurance company, insuring the educational community for more than 70 years. teachers and school employees visit meemic.com/quote to see how much you can save. Today I'm sharing with Molly Davis, a counselor and psychotherapist from Alaska who runs an eight week online boundaries intensive, the beautiful boundaries boot camp, designed for professional women who may cognitively understand what boundaries are, but struggled to implement them in everyday life, work and relationships. There is a special discount for bright podcast listeners who sign up for Molly's boundaries program mentioned this podcast and enjoy two extra weeks of live boundaries coaching added onto your program package at no additional cost. That's five additional hours of live coaching help for free. You can find Molly online on her popular Facebook page wildgoose counseling and on Instagram is boundary boot camp where she shares daily boundaries related cartoons. You can also visit her website www.boundaried.com for a free introductory boundaries class that's bound to read bou and d a r i e d.com. Up next, we dive into Molly's Top three strategies for coping with and preventing educator burnout. Alright, well, are you ready to dive into our three tips?
Let's do this. Alright,
so we've got three strategies for coping with and preventing educator burnout. Let's go number one, what you got for us,
number one, number one is that you are a renewable resource. So if you want some help with this one, I recommend thinking of yourself like a like your bamboo forest, or you know, pick whatever renewable resource you want. But one that will renew itself with a little time. And and so when you think about sustainability, when you think about like, giving right, your job can't be done without you doing it. It's very similar in the counseling world. And anyone in the medical profession, same thing, there's there aren't robots yet to do this job. This is It's a need to human and a need to you. And you actually have this ever refilling energy bucket I kind of think about inside. But it has to have some time and space to renew itself in order to keep giving. So in this world, on the one hand, we can give and give and give and give as humans but on the other hand, we can't give without any breaks. It doesn't you can't just dump it out and expect it to keep pouring. And so if you think about it, like the kids will always be there, the needs will always be there, the workload will always be there, all this stuff, it doesn't go away. Like if you pour yourself out, during you know, for the next semester, you just pour yourself out and give every single thing you've got to give. It's still gonna there's still going to be needs. As soon as you're completely depleted, there still needs it, they never they never stop. So if you make it your job to meet all the needs, if you you know you think that that's the boundary for you, they are supposed to meet every last need. There will be no renewing of you. It that's unsustainable and you will burn out. But if you think of yourself as a renewable resource, like a bamboo forest, you can harvest it, use it, that's fantastic, but it needs some time to come back up. If you can start thinking about yourself using yourself sustainably, then you can actually meet some needs and you can continue to meet you will meet way more needs that way than you will meet if you pour yourself out to the point of exhaustion. And it doesn't feel like that in the moment. And the moment you're like I just gotta give give, give, give give. But you won't be there tomorrow to keep giving or you won't be there next year. You won't be there in five years.
You're Jenny metaphor that that, you know, that did make me think of that in a very concrete way, you know, there's gonna be another Jenny, there's gonna you know, there was another Jenny. And if I leave, if I deplete myself to the point that I cannot continue this work, then I won't be able to help the future. Jenny's, you know, or the current Jenny, or whoever, you know, whoever it may be, it is more. Yeah,
I would say it is hard, especially I think, you know, I get the benefit of working with adults. I feel like, you know, when working with children more vulnerable population, I mean, this stuff, like, you know, hurts the heart sometimes. And it is, it is very hard sometimes to partially meet a need, knowing that you could meet it all the way for now. But you have to think about how can I do the most good with my giftings was my calling with my abilities, with my talents, whatever it is, with my career, how can I do the most good. And that really helps, like, I can do the most good if I'm here to do the job again, tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day,
what kind of almost like hurt my heart when you were saying that, you know, you can't meet every need is, I often hear this kind of language thrown around in education, and just even you know, in the buzzwords and the marketing and everything, where there's a big emphasis right on, like, the whole child is what they call it. I don't know, how familiar are with this, but you know, social emotional learning, and, you know, personalized and individualized learning, so meeting every student's needs and leaving, you know, making sure every child succeeds, there's a lot of language. And obviously, that is what we want in education, right. So every educator wants instead, every school wants, you know, but for teachers to have that responsibility to meet all the needs themselves is what's not possible, you know, and that's hurts, you know, and I'm sure it hurts for them. And, yeah, it just makes me think about even just myself, like using that language and the the pressure it might put on a teacher. And I don't think it's any secret to anybody in education, that there are some systematic things that need to change. So teachers aren't given everything, you know, and said, Oh, here, you get a, you got to do this. Now wear this hat and now wear this hat. Because if we want to reach that goal, it's not fair to put it all on them, obviously. So there's some big picture things that need to change. I think any educator can tell you that.
Oh, absolutely. Anyone? Yeah, no, absolutely. I'm so glad you said that. Because we're talking right now about what can an individual educator do to help themselves, but we would be remiss to say that, okay, the system bears a whole lot of responsibility are the systems at large, not just one system. Thus, systems at large, are, are all kind of doing some, some making this really, really tough, we've got some cracks and breaks and all sorts of levels. And this is all combining to put unbelievable stress on the educator, and then on the children being educated and this is not so. So as I give these, these tips. I am not saying that the other responsibility lies on the educator and I agree with you, I think it's so fantastic that there's now this language of whole child just that there's thinking about education in such a holistic way that is so fantastic. But then the downside of that is the poor educator who's already trying to do their best and they're like, Okay, now, it's not just timetables, it's I have to, like, you know, teach a little Suzy.
Like, how to manage your emotions.
Yeah, exactly. Everything, the whole, the whole entire thing, and it's not possible. And one of the things that is kind of supposed to be provided in a good system is a team. There's a whole entire team, there's a net, a good system is a net, and it kind of provides a foundation and structure from which individuals can do their amazing work. And so part of having good boundaries is understanding what's my responsibility and what isn't my responsibility. And it is sometimes nice to remember, this is actually supposed to be the system's job, my system isn't doing it and I am just one little human, I can't do what a greater system is supposed to do. So I need to keep my responsibility to to my little sphere, even when it's breaking my heart to see. Alright, how about number two? Number two is that it really goes with number one, so So number one, remember that you're a renewable resource. And number two is so treat yourself sustainably. And this can be really tricky. Granted, you know, the the teacher when is the Teacher's Day done anyways, by the way, you know, you ask any educator, like get home, you know, wake up before you know the sun comes up, you know, if you have your family of your own getting your own kids to their classrooms, wherever they're going, and then you're going to your classroom and then you know Oh, you're finishing your day and meeting with this parent or meeting with this administrator or doing this thing, picking up your kid, going home fixing dinner, helping your kid with your homework grading papers. You know, it just when exactly does that work in it the This is tricky. So I say this, knowing this can be kind of complicated. But I mean, on the other hand, it kind of doesn't matter. Like, if you don't want to burn out, I don't mean to be harsh, here, I'm saying this lovingly. But with firmness, it doesn't matter, you have to do something or you will burn out. Like there has to be somewhere in there where you are remembering, I am a renewable resource, so I have to renew. And that can be it's really tricky. When we get really burned out, we tend to you know, since it does affect every other area of our life, the last thing you feel like doing is maybe going for a walk or heading to a yoga class or you know, doing something movement, the last thing you feel like doing is eating in ways that are nutritious for your body. You know, that's like, the last thing you feel like doing is are the healthy things that help you do be sustainable. Honestly, seeing a therapist is really in there, I think that it's really someone who works with educators, sometimes feeling burnout, I can attest to, it's really, really nice to have a place once a week to just even if all it is at that that particular hours, just you can say it, nobody's getting hurt. And at least releases some of the pressure, you know, and a lot of times, there's some things that therapists can do that really help. decent sleep, stuff like that, really being protective of, of your social activities. So that if you think about it, when work asks a lot of you, you want to balance it out with things that do the opposite. So if at work, you're really challenging over giving, I'm going to try to balance that out with the opposite, make it fun and make it restorative like it that tends to help like, okay, the little bamboo shoots are coming up. You know, how do you how do you replenish and renew yourself? Everybody's really different. But it's on you to figure out how do you? How can you be restorative during the times you're not at work? What can you do? And if that looks like on Saturday, I binge watch NetFlix, fine, great, somebody else might, you know, take up a cycling class cool, find what works for you do that thing almost religiously. Like, don't, it's not an option, you have to renew yourself.
I want to I have many things that I you know, can think of to ask or clarify. But I'm gonna let you do your number three. And then we'll see I want to make sure we get through through everything in the time we have. And then we can come back and and do some more reflections if we have time left. The third
my favorite thing to do and whoever is listening is really welcome to check this if they don't like this ideas, it might be a little again counterintuitive, but I say use burnout as a catalyst. So burnout can be a wonderful, beautiful catalyst for needed changes. If you are when you're burning out, sometimes it is. And we've kind of been talking about this all throughout, but you want to take a minute if you can, and look at why. What is it that I don't like? What is what is depleting me? What is what's not working? What am I doing that I hate, if you if you because when we're burned out? We a lot a lot of times, it's because we need to set some boundaries, or draw some lines or stop taking on quite so much. But sometimes it's we're burning out, in part because we're doing something we don't quite love. We kind of like it. There's not quite a fit in working to prevent burnout and recover from burnout, we can use that time to go inward and think about what do I love? What do I we've talked before about the concept of values, what actually drives me, what do what can't I not do? What is the thing that that I find fun in the classroom or in whatever educational setting one is in? Use the desire to prevent burnout as a catalyst to start doing more of those things any way you possibly can. For example, if there is a educator who's really really creative, but you're currently using some modality or some call it modality and counseling worlds, I don't know actually a curriculum or a program or whatever, that you can't stand and drives you nuts and you don't have to use it then that summer figure out what else you're gonna do. write some songs and bring in your guitar and teach the kids their facts on that. I don't know if that makes sense. But if you love a thing See if you can kind of be creative in your mind and figure out how can I do more of this thing? And how can I do less of this thing? Because it that sometimes, is the gift that that burnout can give us. It's a funny one, but sometimes, sometimes that helps, it helps us better shape the direction we're going for, for future.
I, from what I'm hearing from educators, the educators, there's so many that do love it, you know, like, they do really love it, you know, at least the part was about working with students, but all the extra stuff that's been layered on is, you know, leading them to burnout, and I just feel so much for them being in that position, you know, like, they want to do it, they want to keep doing it, it does bring them joy, but all these extra might be requirements, you know, they have to do, you know, and and then now we have to do this. And now we have to do this, and there's just so much that it's like, you know, animals feel it, you know, I think it is Teacher burnout at the scale might be a catalyst for system change. And that's kind of what I'm hoping for. Personally,
I really agree with you. And I don't know, but I don't know what a good system would look like. But I think the thing that's really important when it comes to boundaries is that when you as an educator are caught in a situation where you are using every healthy skill, every coping every coping skill, every healthy tool, you're doing everything you possibly can. And there's just simply no way not to burnout, because the pressures on your shoulders are just too much. That's not you, and if so that's not really a very handy help. But it is emotionally just because if you think about boundaries, who's responsible, you know what, not you, this is a bigger problem, and you are a victim of it. And so, so sometimes it is actually emotionally meaningful, just to know that, okay, my job is to do the very best I can in this impossible situation. And humans don't do very well in impossible situations when they can't get out. So I know that I am going to have some pretty big burnout feelings, and I need to take extra good care of myself, because I am being asked to do something that a human can't do. And it's not on me. And so just not carrying the responsibility for what's happening is a gift that can sometimes be the best boundary we can set depending on the situation.
That's kind of what I was, yeah, wondering too, as you know, if you're choosing right, I'm going to stay, and I'm going to be in education, and I do love it. And yeah, there's a lot that I have to do a lot of thing. Now, there's some things I can't say no to, I can't choose not to do. Do you have any advice? Obviously, you know, I recognize even as I'm asking this, that you built an eight week course, this isn't something we can answer in, you know, just an hour. But you know, what advice might you give to someone? Maybe some of those like emotional boundaries? You know, I'm thinking about what you told me with, with your experience with counseling, right? You know, Jenny was coming home with you. After for Jenny wasn't there? You know, Jenny wasn't making you do that. That was like in your head, right. And I'm not saying it's your fault. But you had to do some inner work and some kind of set some emotional boundaries with yourself, it sounds like
I have two different answers. So the first answer is, or suggestions, what they really are, is if someone is going to stay in the system, and they understand this particular system, for whatever reason, it's just too much, it literally can't be done, but here I am doing it, then I recommend think of it. For example, you can say that the kind of language you want to use in your head is I will do this next year. And then I will say, so don't plan your whole life out and decide you have to, you know, make it for 20 years, in an unbearable system. If you if you feel like yep, I need to do this, or I have to do this or you know, I can't, I need to support my family and I got to stay in here another year or whatever. Or I really believe in this and they want to see it change. And I just feel like I want to be part of the change. And I can't leave yet that you're not that does not feel good to you. Then what you just use the language of small blocks of time we teach this to students. A lot of times I don't know what you know, common lingo is I was taught it is as chunking you chunk stuff up into bite sized pieces, you don't shuffle the whole thing. And so it's the same thing for us when we're doing something that's really really difficult and extremely demanding. Break it up into chunks. I'm going to do this through December. I'm going to do this through May. I'm gonna do this through for this school year. And then we'll reevaluate and see if I want to do it for the next year. And when we do that, we're like, okay, I can do that, that's going to be tough, I'm going to be depleted, but I can do that. Now, that would be my first recommendation for all those who want to stay or need to stay. The second thing I would say is that one of the reasons I started my own private practice is because I didn't like the way that that system worked. It didn't work for me. But I loved what I did. And I and I wanted to do it a different way. And I'd say, Now, this is not actually this can be applicable for educators, even if it's just switching to a different school, sometimes there's a different administration that runs a school a little bit differently, what is beautiful and wonderful for one teacher can be really awful for another. There's not really it's not like there's this big right or wrong in how you should educate. There's many, many different ways. But it might mean, I know, here in Alaska, there's a Montessori school, there's a this type of school, there's all sorts of different types of schools that are part of our public school system. And so there's all sorts of ways to, to, to move into a system that is more conducive to your passion, to your joy to who you are, even if you can't do that for a year, or two or three, figure out which one you think you'd love and get get the that way.
You know, and this is not a pitch for online teaching, like, everybody should be an online teacher. But I actually have heard that from a lot of our full time online teachers, you know, that in part, they get more flexibility, you know, they're not running all the content, the contents built for them. And so they get to focus on other things, they get to focus on, you know, the feedback and the connection with students. And it looks different, because it's not a live class, you know, and so some people that's, you know, not the part that they like, but for some teachers, they found like, they're like, oh, my gosh, you know, I have a better work life balance, essentially. And so some people have reported to me, they were able to find that there. So I'm not, again, it's not a one size fits all prescription. But I have definitely talked to some educators that have found other ways to contribute their talents in a way that doesn't burn them out.
That's such a perfect example. Exactly. For one person, they need a live classroom, they need it for the other person. They're like, Oh, my gosh, this is the best thing ever. This whole online thing? I'm in heaven. Yeah. And so you know, start moving, start trying stuff out, if you're not even sure what you would like, there's no harm in trying, try something doesn't work out. Okay. mark that off the list now, you know, thinking flexibly, I guess, flow using psychological flexibility to think about how do I set myself up to enjoy my job, the most possible, given my personality traits, my passions and my lifestyle? And that flexibility right there, decreases the risk of burnout.
I've been hearing a lot of educators even have resistance, mostly on Twitter, I've been seeing this conversation happen, but, you know, almost resistance to the term self care. You know, because it's used sometimes I'm not saying bye, bye, everybody at all, you know, it's in itself, it makes a whole lot of sense, right? It's a good word. Yeah, it's a good concept. But it can it's sometimes used, like, Oh, you just have to do self care. You know, it's like, it's, it puts the burden back on the person. And it's, you know, I've heard educators say, No, I don't need a three hour PD and self care, you know, I need, like, and so I just think that's pretty interesting, like we are seeing, it's a fine balance there, you know, between system and individual, you know, and even when we're talking about these things, so I appreciate you diving into some of the finer nuances with me,
I really agree with that so much, I think it's really, it's
a, it's an easy fix,
is to say, well, you should just blah, blah, blah, and then there wouldn't be any problems. But it's actually a lot more complex than that. And within the recognition of that complexity, and the multiple levels of responsibility, the individual educator does need to practice self care, but not the kind of self care, that kind of self care I was talking about where you are a renewable resource, how are you going to renew yourself to whatever level you can, but without taking the responsibility for being you can't take on the responsibility for being depleted. When your job is going to deplete you. That's that's not your fault, that the job is really really heavy right now, you didn't cause a pandemic. You didn't, you didn't do any of this. You're just somebody on the front lines, you know, having to figure out how to teach some children, and that's not on you. And so within that framework, we can use self care really responsibly and lovingly and compassionately knowing okay, there's no amount of self care in the world. It's going to help me right now. But I will go for a half hour walk do this thing because it will help a little. And I can do that, you know?
Awesome. Would you be able to tell me about a teacher that had an impact in your life?
This is so easy for me. Totally. There is this lady. I don't know where she is she'll probably never hear this morning was Tish halat. So little Molly, in grade school, had this magical lady who was like, they just started like a Gifted and Talented program. And Alaska was like, called Quest or something. So I was put in quest. But I was so lucky to have this lady, she was a passion based teacher, for herself and for the students. And she had the you know, at that time, this is the 80s. So, you know, there was a lot, Alaska had a lot of money in a school system, and there wasn't a pandemic, and all that kind of stuff. But she basically got to do whatever was chanting, whatever, it was fun and challenging for the students. And I was like, a little creative. I don't know, I was like, read The Hobbit, and I'm like, I'm gonna write my own habit. And so she just really encouraged that. She just let me write all the time about anything, anything we were learning, I got to write about it. And I got to write about a creative creatively. And she even said, like, I remember thinking about this later going, I don't think there was any extra credit. But she's like, Oh, you get extra credit, if you you know, one poem a day for extra credit. And I'm like, I'm writing another poem a day. And I would go turn them into this little basket. And then, you know, I don't even know, well, there wasn't even a point a grade in that class really, in a sense, but I just she had a sparkle in her eye, at my creativity, instead of saying, No, that's not how the assignments supposed to go. She's like, Oh, I just love that you rhymed, the whole entire thing. That's amazing. And gave me props for it and said, do it again. And I don't know. I always felt like the creativity in me that, you know, could be annoying to some teachers, because I was always like, Oh, we could do it this way. I've always had a great love and respect for it. And I swear, I think it's because of her just smiling and loving it.
Do you think? Do you see any ways that Mrs. halat influence the way you know that you react to others, you know, professionally or personally?
Oh, that's a good question.
That's interesting. Probably, actually, like,
I've thought, like, what would it have been, like, if I had just had really kind of Stern, straight laced educators all through grade school wouldn't have even had any light in my eyes left, you know, at a certain point, but because of the great educators I had, I mean, it was it was more than just her I, I, I don't know. That's a really good point. And I do I just love it when when other people pour out their heart, whatever, whatever their talents or giftings are just when it's coming from them. It and it's just got that sparkle on it. I just light up. I mean, my heart literally spirited, like, my heart goes blue. Like it swells up a bit. Like, it's so nice. Yeah.
Yeah, I was just wondering, because, you know, obviously, I know you, I know you personally, and I do see that in you, you know, like that, you just get so excited. And it's so obvious that like, Oh, she reacted so positively because there is something like so crushing if you like, really spend a lot of creativity and you present it to someone. And they're just like, Oh, that's nice, you know, that can be really crushing. So when you've had somebody respond to you in that, like such that way it It is special, and when you felt it, you want to give it to others. Without a doubt, it's challenging work. To avoid burnout in a world that asks so much of its educators, and to design better systems that provide our educators with the resources and support they need to thrive. with leaders like Molly forging our path forward, if there's one thing we're certain of, it said the future is bright.
There is a special discount for bright podcast listeners who sign up for Molly's boundaries program. mentioned this podcast enjoyed two extra weeks of live boundaries coaching added onto your program package at no additional cost. That's five additional hours of live coaching for free. You can find Molly online on her popular Facebook page wildgoose counseling and on Instagram is boundaried Boot Camp, where she shares daily boundaries related cartoons. You can also visit her website, www dot bounder read.com. For a free introductory boundaries class that's bound to read.com b o u n d a r i e d you know someone is an inspiration During Michigan educator who should be featured on our show, send us an email at Bright at Michigan virtual.org to let us know who they are, and why we should interview them.
Thank you for joining us for this episode of bright stories of hope and innovation in Michigan classrooms. This podcast is produced by Herbie Gaylord is hosted by me, Mickey Herta and is shaped by many of our passionate and talented colleagues. Big thanks to Ann Perez, Ed TIMKI and Brandon Battista for their contributions to this episode. Right is brought to you in part by Meemic insurance company, insuring the educational community for more than 70 years. teachers and school employees visit meemic.com/quote to see how much you can save. The bright podcast is made possible by Michigan Virtual, a nonprofit organization that's leading and collaborating to build learning environments for tomorrow. Education is changing faster than ever. Discover new models and resources to move learning forward at your school at Michigan virtual.org.