On Burnout

The Foo Fighters have been one of my favorite bands for quite some time, so when they came to Des Moines for the first time ever, I went. Our seats were not great, but it’s the Foo Fighters, so even bad seats were worth the ticket price. However, in the first few moments of their opening song it became very apparent that Dave Grohl’s voice was thrashed. This, of course, is not surprising given the nature of his singing and I do not think the show suffered very much because of his weakened voice.

While I admired Dave’s (cause we are on a first name basis) dedication and determination to power through, I found myself wishing he would take it a little easy to save a little bit for the next night and the next group of fans. This led me to thinking about teaching (as one does during a rock concert). I thought of all the teachers who burn out. The statistic that gets thrown around is that 50% of new teachers are no longer teachers within 5 years.

For some teachers that burn out, the job simply isn’t a good fit and preservice education needs to continue to ensure folks know what they are getting into. For other burnouts, the job is too good of a fit. They give so much to every student every year that at some point they have nothing left to give. Their voice is thrashed.

Here’s to the Dave Grohl teachers of the world. You give and then you give some more. When your voice is thrashed, you press on. Yet, don’t forget that the tour is long and you’ve got a lot of students ahead of you.

Take care of yourselves, we need you more than we need rock stars.

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