Being an adjunct or part-time instructor is hard. But being a first-year adjunct (during a pandemic, nonetheless!) is a whole other level of hard. Teacher burnout is a real thing and having been a new instructor myself, I know that we all need support and advice. I’ve compiled a list of some important pieces of wisdom I’ve picked up along the way and want to share them with you. I hope you find them helpful as you navigate your early years of teaching! 

Teacher Tip 6: Hit Mute 

Hit the mute button, both literally and figuratively. Teaching is overwhelming, to say the least, and being able to drown out any extraneous noise will help you manage your priorities and your to-do list while also ensuring you do not burn out. 

Smart phones, social media, and the news can be addictive and have an impact on your emotional state and stress level. If you’re feeling particularly drained or overwhelmed with teaching (or with life in general), take a break from your phone. Delete apps if you have to (you can always download them again later), move the apps on your phone so they aren’t as easily accessible, mute the apps during certain times, or put your phone in an entirely different room when you need to focus on something. 

Teacher Tip 7: Student Evaluations 

For the end of academic terms, if you’ve received your student evaluations, wait to read them until you have time to process what your students said about you. The same goes for your evaluations from administrators. Be mindful of your own emotions and stress level before diving into evaluations. It is likely you’ll immediately start thinking of how you can improve and what you can do differently, and if your mind isn’t ready to process all of that, you will quickly feel overwhelmed. 

A word of warning: My own experience leads me to believe that gender stereotypes continue to permeate academia – i.e. women are less rational and more emotional than men.  Although things have definitely changed for the better, it is naive to think that gender biases do not appear in our students’ expectations and hence our evaluations (in the link below there is a list of articles supporting my position).

I have a blog post about it here:

WHY ARE FEMALE PROFESSORS VIEWED DIFFERENTLY THAN THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS

Teacher Tip 8: Balance

Teacher self-care is paramount in maintaining a healthy balance between work, life, and everything in between. I once heard teaching referred to as a juggling act, rather than an exercise in achieving balance, because eventually, you drop the ball. This resonated with me and I hope that it does with you, too. The important thing is that you pick the ball back up and keep going, expecting that it will probably drop again. 

All of these tips, see PART ONE HERE, I have found to be effective in helping me become a better and more effective instructor and a more healthy and balanced person at the same time. While these tips are a starting point, there are so many other aspects of teaching with which I can help you.

If you’re looking for more information or are interested in the customized coaching I offer, please visit my webpage here: 1:1 COACHING 

Thanks for stopping by!

Linda Jennifer

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