“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” ~Wayne W. Dyer
If you have been teaching for awhile now, you have no doubt experienced some level of burnout.
Even though you love what you do, day-after-day of teaching—day-after-day of leading—can eventually take a toll.
Maybe you start "counting down" the classes you have left to teach this week.
Maybe you sigh inwardly or cringe when you realize you have to get on the bike again tonight or tomorrow morning.
If and when that happens, remember that with anything you do and love, a certain amount of burnout is perfectly normal.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO AVOID TEACHER BURNOUT?
Take a week off. No, seriously. Take a week of from teaching any classes if you can. Sometimes it's not the ride that gets to you, but the actual leading and instructing. Exercise if you want for this week, but take classes, don't teach them.
Follow the energy. Locate a new instructor at your gym (or any gym) who has passion and energy to burn. Take his or her classes and soak up the good vibrations. Watching someone who loves what they do is contagious. Observe, learn and mimic in your own classes. Their passion may be just what you need to reinspire you.
Find new music. Music can energize you like nothing else, but if you've taught the same rides with the same songs for what seems like an eternity, put something new together. Look outside your normal "box" and try some different kinds of music, too.
It's all-request-time. As a spinoff to the above tip, create an "all-request" ride to get fresh ideas from your students. You will end up using some music you don't normally use (trust me!), and you may get introduced to new artists and sounds along the way. Plus your students enjoy hearing their favorite song(s) in your classes. Have you ever ridden to Don Ho's "Tiny Bubbles?" (I have...on a dare during an all-request ride. And it was a blast. Would I have thought to play it on my own? Never).
Teach off the bike. Put away that look of horror. Teaching off the bike can be fun and refreshing. It allows you to interact with your students more, and to “let your hair down.” Teaching off the bike also motivates you be more creative (since you can breathe and talk a little better when not on the bike), and it is a great opportunity to actually guide your students on a mythical ride. Do a little research beforehand and pick a place to take the class to mentally. Talk about that spot (is it in a foreign country? What’s the terrain? Do they feel the wind in their hair or the sun on their faces? What is the view like? Are they climbing a hill or cruising along by the ocean? What landmarks are they seeing along the way?)
Team teach. Invite another instructor to teach with you for a class. Not only does that pull some of the pressure off you to lead, but it also gives the class participants a renewed sense of energy and a moment of 'double the fun.'
Take a fitness workshop. Any kind of workshop/class led by a passionate presenter will help you re-generate. Fitness conventions are a great source of new inspiration. Though you might not be able to put into physical practice some of what you learn at workshops for a different class format, the verbal cuing skills and teaching ideas are invaluable.
Burnout is normal, but if you let it go on too long it can affect your class participants.
No one wants to take a class from an instructor who is just “phoning it in.”
Try a few of the above tips and share some of your own below. The more we share with each other, the better we all become.