By: Allie Broas
Burnout. It’s a word that has become so commonplace in our vocabulary that it’s rare to make it through a day without using it. We use it to describe student mindset around this time of year and to excuse any missteps or misbehaviors. We use it to describe ourselves – to validate our sluggish feet, haggard appearances, and the exhaustion that, collectively, we have welcomed as a part of our daily routine. We arrive early and leave late, and, although we’ve all become quite immune to rising with the sun, this time of year unfortunately brings about a sense of disillusionment towards our work. Thankfully, an integral part of City Year is reflection – with your team, your leaders, and yourself. It gives us peace of mind as we battle through the mid-year slump that has begun to plague our team and our students.
In the beginning of the year, as we eased into our service, I found reflection to be a negligible part of my City Year experience. I was overconfident in my ability to self-reflect, and I thought that the time we set aside for reflection was unnecessary. Barely weeks into our service, as I realized just how taxing our work was, I began to see reflection as a support – it became a fundamental part of my service and why I continue to serve. While the students give me most of my energy, they also have the unique ability to drain it completely, and reflecting with my team at the week’s end provides me with the restoration I need to put my jacket on every morning. With reflection, we gain the full benefits of having a team working together every day. Being able to share our joys and struggles allows us to properly overcome any burnout that we or our students face.
As we enter the last few months of our service, reflection is key in our continual strive for improvement. Our school and our students deserve our best efforts, and we should use such reflection to guide each other through our most difficult times and our students to reach their goals.
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
― Søren Kierkegaard