Take Notes with Jen Rafferty

8 Steps to Tackle (and Triumph) Teacher Burnout with Amber Harper

November 02, 2023 Jen Rafferty Season 3 Episode 2
8 Steps to Tackle (and Triumph) Teacher Burnout with Amber Harper
Take Notes with Jen Rafferty
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Take Notes with Jen Rafferty
8 Steps to Tackle (and Triumph) Teacher Burnout with Amber Harper
Nov 02, 2023 Season 3 Episode 2
Jen Rafferty

Feeling burned out from the classroom?


Remember that navigating burnout is an ongoing journey and not a quick fix. The good news? You can initiate positive change today.


On episode 2 of the Take Notes podcast, I sit down with Amber Harper, the brilliant mind behind Burned-In Teacher, and together we unpack the world of teacher burnout.


Amber shared her personal experience of burnout and how she turned her life around after a public breakdown. Her journey is a testament to the power of self-awareness and intentional change.


Discover her 8-step Burned-In process, a guide for teachers to address and conquer burnout.


Tune in and find out more practical advice and actionable steps to help you navigate and overcome burnout


Stay empowered,
Jen


Let’s keep the conversation going! Find me at:
Jen Rafferty | Instagram, YouTube, Facebook | Linktree
Instagram: @jenrafferty_
Facebook: Empowered Educator Faculty Room


About Amber:

Amber Harper is a Kindergarten Teacher, author of Hacking Teacher Burnout, podcaster, and Teacher Burnout Coach. She gives struggling teachers a path to follow as they navigate their way out of burnout by helping them grow through their burnout and take their next best steps toward what they want from their career in education and in life. You can learn more about her and the services she offers at www.burnedinteacher.com.


Connect with Amber:


Website:https://www.burnedinteacher.com/

IG: @burnedinteacher

Show Notes Transcript

Feeling burned out from the classroom?


Remember that navigating burnout is an ongoing journey and not a quick fix. The good news? You can initiate positive change today.


On episode 2 of the Take Notes podcast, I sit down with Amber Harper, the brilliant mind behind Burned-In Teacher, and together we unpack the world of teacher burnout.


Amber shared her personal experience of burnout and how she turned her life around after a public breakdown. Her journey is a testament to the power of self-awareness and intentional change.


Discover her 8-step Burned-In process, a guide for teachers to address and conquer burnout.


Tune in and find out more practical advice and actionable steps to help you navigate and overcome burnout


Stay empowered,
Jen


Let’s keep the conversation going! Find me at:
Jen Rafferty | Instagram, YouTube, Facebook | Linktree
Instagram: @jenrafferty_
Facebook: Empowered Educator Faculty Room


About Amber:

Amber Harper is a Kindergarten Teacher, author of Hacking Teacher Burnout, podcaster, and Teacher Burnout Coach. She gives struggling teachers a path to follow as they navigate their way out of burnout by helping them grow through their burnout and take their next best steps toward what they want from their career in education and in life. You can learn more about her and the services she offers at www.burnedinteacher.com.


Connect with Amber:


Website:https://www.burnedinteacher.com/

IG: @burnedinteacher

Jen Rafferty  0:01  
Are you caught in the whirlwind of overwhelming responsibilities, and as the very thought of Monday morning sent chills down your spine? Well, it's time to toss those fillings out the window. Welcome to season three of the Take Notes podcast, where you get to make yourself a priority in order to show up as your best self. I'm your host Jen Rafferty, former music teacher, Emotional Intelligence Practitioner, mom of two, and Founder of Empowered Educator and I've been where you are. In this season, we're not just talking about surviving, we are diving deep into thriving. Are you ready to take the lead in your life? Well, let's do this. 

Jen Rafferty  0:43  
Hello, and welcome back to another fabulous episode of Take Notes. I am here with the wonderful Amber Harper. And we are talking all things burned out, burned in, teaching and how we can create sustainable habits for ourselves so we can have a healthy longevity in this career that we love. So thank you for being here, Amber, I'm so excited to have this conversation with you today.

Amber Harper  1:07  
Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited as well.

Jen Rafferty  1:09  
So let's just dive right in. I want to know, how did Burned-In Teacher come to be? What was the story? How did this happen?

Amber Harper  1:17  
Such a great question, I will try to answer it very quickly because as with any journey, like there's not a quick and fast answer. I actually built Burned-In Teacher, bought the domain back in 2016. But I truly believe that Burned-In Teacher started in 2007 whenever I started teaching. Because from the time that I had my own classroom, until I had my infamous breakdown that I'm very, very upfront and honest about anytime I talk about the Burned-In teacher journey. I really rode that roller coaster of burnout and like a lot of teachers accepted it as my reality and told myself, this is just the way it's going to be. So I taught first grade, second grade, third grade, and throughout those years, those first eight years, I would ride these tremendous highs and then I would dip into a tremendous low, and then I would get back on the horse, And I would say this year is going to be different. But I never got back to that place where I felt like I was truly happy and fulfilled doing what it was that I did. And I look back at it now, especially after doing the research and the work that I've done now for seven, eight years. I was very misaligned. And I did not have the tools and the strategies that I really needed to create this sustainable career in education that I really wanted so badly. And I was having terrible negative self talk, the narratives in my head, were just dragging me down the conversations I was having with other teachers were dragging me down. And I didn't know that there was any other way to feel about teaching that how I felt, which was overwhelmed and frustrated and defeated every single day for multiple reasons, whether it be a toxic work environment with my grade level or my administration or my students behavior or my workload. You know, overworking myself, you know, I was all three types of burnout, which we can talk about later if you'd like. 

Amber Harper  3:05  
But it finally came to a head in 2014 when I had a very public and very embarrassing mental and emotional breakdown in front of my teacher friends, and there were nine of us we were a very large team of third grade teachers. And I had gone home to let our new puppy out of his kennel to go to the bathroom. And he had crapped in his kennel. And it was the straw that broke the camel's back. I was hysterical. And I was only about three minutes away from the school. So when I drove back to school, I was doing everything that I could to get myself calmed back down because I had to teach for another hour and a half. But I absolutely couldn't. And I recognize it now that that was really the moment that I realized that I had lost control. I had lost I felt like I had given up all of the control over my life, not just in my professional life, but in my personal life. There were all of these things that were happening that I continued to shove down, and finally they just exploded. And when I went back into the school, I was in such a horrific state that my husband who had worked at the school that I worked in for almost our entire teaching careers. They thought he had died. Like these were friends of ours so they were like my friend Jane, she goes is Jeff okay? And I was like Oh! like I she goes you've got to be kidding me. Like she was always my very brash like in your face like she was like, You're seriously losing your mind over all of her poop like it was very underwhelming, right? And I am fully admitted that it was ridiculous that I was losing my mind over this. 

Amber Harper  3:05  
But it was such an indication there was so much more going on under the surface that I was not addressing and that I was not aware of. And it was in that moment like that is my rock bottom moment. I call it my Ollie moment. That was my dog's name at the time. And I feel like we all come to those moments, and that's where I really believe that that was my turnaround. That was my transformation moment where I was like, I have to stop waiting on someone to save me, and I cannot continue to live like this, and I won't. 

Amber Harper  5:12  
And so that's where I really started to dive into some research. I didn't start Burned-In Teacher until a few years later. But that's where I finally took responsibility for my burnout. That is where my life really changed. And not just professionally, but personally, that is where I started to be honest, and be upfront with myself about what it was that was making me unhappy, and what was in my control and what wasn't in my control. And like I told you, it's a long story, but I'm tried trying to make it quick. But I think for a lot of teachers that are struggling with burnout, it doesn't just start in one day, it started weeks or months or years ago. And we were just so fogged over with our lack of clarity for what our values are and what we wanted and where we were and what happened and what our triggers are, and, and we're so different with what our triggers are. So it was a really pivotal moment in my career that fall of 2014.

Jen Rafferty  6:06  
Well, thank you so much for sharing, it is an important story that I know resonates with so many people, as I'm sure you have now experienced in the work that you do, too. And there's so many things that I want to dive into regarding what you had just said. But I think the first thing that I want to touch on is that you do not have to wait for a catastrophe in order to change your choices. So I think what happens is we hear these stories, which, unfortunately, are very common. And we think to ourselves, well, we need to hit rock bottom to gain that clarity. And I would love for you to talk a little bit about how we can start changing now that you don't have to wait until you have a breakdown or a heart attack, or any sort of moments where you have this crossroads of things are not working anymore.

Amber Harper  6:59  
Or like physical, visceral reaction. And unfortunately, generally, this was not my first emotional moment. I had had meetings where I had to remove myself because I would start to have a panic attack. And I would be hyperventilating. And I'd have to remove myself so that I wouldn't do that in front of people I would cry to and from school. This was years, years, but I kept saying no, this is a career that you went to school for it. This is what you and Jeff, my husband and I had a baby very early, right out of high school, we dreamed of becoming teachers, getting jobs having a house, and here we were, we had all of these things that we had worked so hard for. And I kept telling myself, Amber stop being so ungrateful. You have everything that you've wanted everything that you and your husband have wanted for so long. 

Amber Harper  7:49  
And that's where I needed to identify that negative self talk, and to admit to myself that you are having conversations with yourself where you are backing yourself into a corner. And you need to start talking openly about these conversations that you're having in your head because those were not the conversations I was having Jen. I was having conversations about our crappy administration, and this crazy workload that we had, and all of this new curriculum and all of these things that were out of my control. Those were much easier for me to place blame on and not that those things aren't hard or that they don't suck sometimes because work is work, and that's part of being a working adult in any environment, not just in education. But I was so busy projecting my frustration outwardly, rather than processing it internally. And I really needed to come to terms with that, probably in year two of my teaching career. I even started on my career with a very toxic grade level. And that first year, I took things very personally and then that second year, I was like, You know what, I don't care what they have to say, I'm just gonna go be kind, I'm gonna go do me, I'm gonna, you know, have a good year, and it still allowed all of that negativity inside. And I would just talk nasty. And I would just, you know, did it over here, you know, it's just, it's over here. And that's really where I needed to be like, No, Amber's like, you can't control them. 

Amber Harper  9:14  
You just go to school, be a good person, and do you and you don't have to make them like, they don't have to like you. That's up to them. You know, you're not a bad person. You're not a bad teacher. You're really good teacher, and you're a good person. Right? But those weren't the conversations I was having with myself. I was thinking nasty about everybody and everything rather than thinking about what my truth was.

Jen Rafferty  9:38  
Right? And those have to do with a lot of these tools and strategies that we don't learn that I want to talk about in a minute. But I do want to talk about two other things before we even go there. First thing that you said is really important I want to underscore is that so often, we do this gratitude bypass where we're like, but we're supposed to be happy we have the life at least I have a job, at least I'm healthy. And I should be grateful for these things. But what happens is, when we do this bypass, we are completely leapfrogging over the emotions that need to be processed and honored and released, and so we don't. And I want to be clear here, and I know that you know this, but just for clarity for the people listening that this isn't about not being grateful, this isn't about gratitude, in and of itself is extremely important. And there are a million benefits for having gratitude, and practicing gratitude. But this is different. This is about glossing over the shitty emotions that you may be feeling in the moments in the name of gratitude, that is very unhealthy. And it comes to this point that I want to talk about here about understanding that you are worthy of happiness. That you are inherently worthy of anything that you want, despite everything that might look like you have everything, but if you don't feel good, you are worthy of feeling good. So I want to ask, what was that moment like for you, when you finally realized I am worthy of happiness?

Amber Harper  11:16  
Oh, my goodness, I love that question so much, it almost makes me emotional. For so long, I mean, from the time that my husband, Jeff, and I, you know, realized that we were going to have a baby, he was a freshman in college, I was a senior in high school. We together, like we had our heads down and we built this linear plan, we'll do this, then we'll do that, we're going to go to college, we're going to get our degrees, we're going to get out of this apartment, we're going to get our teaching jobs, we're going to teach. And that's where there was like a stop sign. It was like, that's all we need. And in my head, I had this plan that was very linear, very neat, very organized, and that was what was going to make me happy. And in that moment, that pivotal moment, I realized that this is going to be messy. And change is messy and changing your mind is unsexy. But there's no linear, like nobody says that you have to have a linear path, especially nowadays. And I came to the realization was so and one specific thing that comes to mind is, you know, I had this breakdown in late September, early October of 2014. Sorts of things that I started questioning, like, do I really want to live here? Like, why do we like I started asking all these questions, why am I doing this? Why am I here? Not like, why am I here in this life? Like, why am I working in the school? If I'm so unhappy. Why are we living in this community? When it doesn't really fit our values? Why are we in this house? And all of these things, all of my answers were because it just has happened. It's just where we have ended up. And we had made all these decisions based on our linear path, we get a teaching job, we buy a house. And we finally and I say we, my husband and I, because this really was a team effort, we started to realize like, we can be intentional about the choices that we make, just because we teach here now, doesn't mean that that has to be the place that we stay. If that's not where we're happy. Just because we bought this house here does not mean that we have to stay. If the community does not offer the things that we value as a family. You know, so we actually picked up and move like we sold our house. I did, I've left teaching twice and returned twice. So I'm like the poster child, for like, figuring out this messy, this messy life right. And at first, I felt a little ashamed by it. 

Amber Harper  13:46  
But now I'm really proud of it because I am really happy now like I'm back in the classroom. And I couldn't be happier. But it's because I started to think about the intentionality behind our decisions. And I became really disciplined and continuing to check in with myself about, okay, how am I feeling? All right, I'm not feeling like these last couple of days, these last couple of weeks. I'm feeling like really crummy. Okay, so what's triggering that? And that's where it kind of my burned in process comes because Burned in Teacher, is not just the name of this website, and you know, the book and you know, everything that I do, it really is an eight step process that I created for myself because I needed those checks and balances to keep myself aligned with who I wanted to be and the life I wanted to live.

Jen Rafferty  14:30  
Yeah, and that responsibility that you have to co-create your reality is a huge awakening. Because I'm sure you experienced this too. When you tell somebody and you show them and guide them to realizing that, you are responsible, or your circumstances, right. You're you're responsible for your reality that can be activating because of all of those external things that you were mentioning before. It's so much easier to look at the external things and point to them and say, but if only this were different, then I would feel better. But what being responsible means, is that you actually are empowered to meet the moment with all of the things that are lifee. Because life is gonna life, like that's just like that. Yeah. And your responsibility lies in you choosing who you want to be in those moments when the rubber meets the road. And so I would love for you to tell us a little bit about what are those eight steps? What does it mean to be a Burned in Teacher?

Amber Harper  15:35  
Yeah, thank you for asking. So the burden process is eight steps that I created to kind of move through, especially initially when you first learn what they are. And there are all these little mini sub-steps within each of these, right? But I want to touch on something that you already unintentionally brought up, which is that activation period, right? So in addition to these eight steps, I have stages, there's a success path there. 

Amber Harper  15:59  
So stage zero is totally burned out where you're just like, I'm done, like, rarely do I have the opportunity to work with someone, whether it be through reading my book, or going through the course or doing one coaching, whatever that is, with someone who's at a stage zero, because they were me, right before that breakdown, like I didn't want to hear anything different. I didn't want to talk about it. I just was miserable. And there was nobody that was going to talk me, I wasn't ready to have those conversations. 

Amber Harper  16:29  
Stage one is where you'll listen. But this girl is crazy. Like she has no idea how hard my life is, there's something special about her. She's privileged in some way where she has these choices that I do not, she doesn't understand how hard it is to work for this principle, etc. Stage two is that activation stage, stage two is where you reach a point. And that was me on that late fall day where I was ready, I was ready to do anything that anybody had to suggest to me to not feel this way anymore. And that's when I started to lean in and started to listen and started to learn and started to make changes. And that's the perfect place for me to meet somebody. And like you said earlier, it doesn't have to be that physical breakdown moment. But it's that moment when people are like, I want to teach, but I can't keep doing it like this anymore. You know, or maybe I don't know if I want to teach or not. But I'm tired of living in this limbo of do I want to do this or don't I want to do this, because that's okay too, right. So that moment that stage two is where people are like, Alright, tell me more, like you tell me what to do, and I'll try it. I'll try, it doesn't mean, I'll stick with it, but I'll try it. And so that's where we can begin to go through this process together. So B stands for begin where you are. And that is really looking at what has happened in the past to figure out what brought you to where you are. Because if you look at a map, and you don't know where you are, you certainly aren't going to be able to get to where you want to go. So it's really reflecting on what has brought you to this moment. Step two is to understand your teacher brand. So of course, I'm spelling burned in here. So you understand your teacher brand. So this is really looking at your brand as a teacher, and the legacy that you're leaving in your teaching life and your personal life. So this is really an as I know, you know, this is so important. 

Amber Harper  18:16  
This is the self awareness part where if you don't start, like, self awareness is our number one superpower. If we want to change our lives, we have got to be super aware of our thoughts, our beliefs, our words, our actions, or habits that are either keeping us stuck in this burnout, or the things that we need to change and, or the things that we need to change to move us through it, and out of it. We can't just drink more water, we can't just get more sleep, we can't just numb ourselves, you know, in any form or fashion to move through this. Like we have to be hyper aware of what we're saying doing thinking every single day. And that's a really hard step, because then you start when you start to pay attention, you start to realize your tone, you start to realize how you are or not taking care of yourself and your classroom and your home and your car and like, and this is not superficial kind of stuff. This is like, you know, your biography becomes your biology, and your thoughts become your life. Like if you think that you're worth nothing, then you take care of things like they're not worth anything. So this is a huge this is one of my favorite steps.

Jen Rafferty  19:24  
They also want to point out singer that this one ties into that responsibility piece.

Amber Harper  19:28  
Absolutely. You are accepting full responsibility for you and your life. 100%. And when I say that there's no blame and there's no shame there. There's a difference between blaming and shaming and owning up to it and saying, You know what, I'm here. I'm not blaming anybody. I'm not blaming myself. This is just my reality right now. And it doesn't have to stay this way. And the only person who's going to change my life is me, which is such great news.

Jen Rafferty  19:55  
It's amazing

Amber Harper  19:56  
news. It's like the best news because it makes it sound a table Pull, like, I don't have to wait for anybody. I don't have to wait for a new principal, I don't have to wait for a new president, I don't have to wait for a new curriculum, I don't have to wait for a different class. I can make changes right now, to change my life. So ours reflect on your challenges. So this is the step where you really start to look deeply at what's challenging, challenging you why it's challenging you whether or not it's within your control. And what possible solutions are becoming more of a solution seeker, rather than a challenge seeker. And we're really good at finding the mistakes, we're really good at finding the challenges and the hardships because teachers are fixers, you know, and naturally, humans, we are wired to look for the negative, right? keep us safe. However, we have to learn how to harness that negativity bias that we have. And so this is not about being positive Pollyanna, every day, right? But this is about you saying, Nope, I'm not gonna bitch any more about my administrator, I'm not gonna complain any more about the state of education in the United States, like, that is a waste of my time and a waste of my energy, what I'm gonna do is focus on what I can control in my role, whatever that is, whether you're a school counselor, a principal, a teacher, special ed, general ed, high school, whatever that is, I'm going to focus on what is directly impacting me and my students every single day, or me and my teachers, if you're a coach, and is nurture your strengths and habits. So this is getting really real about what you're doing morning through the evening, to either add to your strengths, or take away from them. Because this is a part where we learn a little bit about our personality, we dig a little deeper into what makes us us. This is where I take some personality assessments. This is where I one day I was walking on the treadmill was like February of 2016, maybe. And I took the Strengths Assessment. And I'm like, sobbing. I'm like, Oh my gosh, all these years, I thought these were bad things. And this is actually wonderful. Like, my number one strength is futuristics. I love looking. I'm a visionary. Like, I'm all about planning for the future. And there were so many times that I was like, beating myself up because I'm like, why can't you just focus on now? Like, why are you always like, I was beating myself up about that. And I'm like, No, that's a good thing. Like, I love looking into the future and thinking about what the awesomeness that's to come. So this is all about learning what makes you you and how you can build on those strengths. So you're not tearing yourself down, you're building yourself up. So that's en. And the next step is extend your reach and possibilities. So this is about, you know, addressing those hardships, the things that are hard for you, and extending out a hand and saying, Hey, I need help with this over here. So that's whether it's reaching out to their teacher or listening to a podcast, find a YouTube channel, you know, learning about you, Jen, reading my book, you know, listening to your TED Talk. This is where you're like out and you're seeking those solutions, like you're finding your people and you're finding the information that's going to help you because you don't have to do this alone. No, that's huge. You don't have to have all the answers. But we live in a society where we can learn anything, we can go to YouTube University and learn anything we want. For free a lot of times, right. And in tandem, we're also starting because we're starting to build those self that self awareness, we're really paying attention to our habits and our thoughts and our beliefs. We're also going to start remembering what makes us happy, like what brings us joy, anyway, and we're starting to bring that joy into our daily life or into our weekly life. We don't have to be our summer Self Only in the summer. We can do the things that we enjoy all year long. And that looks different for everybody. Everybody's in a different season, whether you have kids, you don't have kids, you're an empty nester, you're brand new baby teacher, we're all very different. So this is this looks and sounds very different for people but helping you to believe that you are capable and worthy of living a really rich life outside of your classroom and that you do not have to sacrifice yourself and believe that as a teacher, you are a martyr to the rest of your life.

Jen Rafferty  24:05  
Yeah, it's not sustainable. And that thinking has led us to where we are now.

Amber Harper  24:09  
Yeah, 100% 100%. But I can't just tell people that are at a stage one who have not done the work of the rest of the steps. First, I can't tell them that they're capable and worthy of bringing daily joy into their life. If they haven't built up their self awareness if they haven't started to address the possible solutions, if they haven't started to understand that they are a wonderful person, they have all these beautiful strengths. And so that's why this process is so helpful. And then the next step is determine your long term goal. So we start to decide like is your long term goal to stay in education? Do you have a long term goal to leave? Like is it time for you to start thinking about possibly leaving like both of those decisions are completely honorable? Just because you're a teacher? Let you know if I'm talking about myself just because I teach kindergarten right now. If I'm really unhappy, it could be that I need to change in grade level, it could be that I need to change. But maybe I'm not getting along with my administration, and I've tried to do things to mend a relationship, but it's just not working. Maybe I need to move to another school, maybe you need to move to another district, maybe you need to quit teaching altogether. All of those things come from you, all of those decisions come from you. So this is really starting to think about, you know, I really want to keep teaching, I just don't think that I want to teach here, or in Jeff and I's case, we don't want to live in this community anymore, we're gonna move. So we put our house on the market. And we sold it in three days on Facebook, like, if you would have told me six months ago that we were going to do that, like, I would have been like, You're crazy, we could never do that. So you start to challenge your neighbors, and really think about how those are keeping you stuck. And then after determine your long term goals, we start to initiate lasting change. A goal without a plan is just a wish, right? That's Tony Robbins. So we start to build in monthly, weekly, daily actions, like we break these goals down into manageable tasks, and we bring them into our daily weekly lives. So we see those changes happen, these things are not going to happen overnight. It this is a marathon. This is not a sprint, you know, it's just like anything that you do in your life. That's important. It takes time, there's no quick fix for burnout. It really does take a vision, planning, discipline and intention. And that is what we're lacking so much when we're clouded by that burnout. We have no vision for the future. We can't see past the next hour. We have no discipline because we don't even know what we're working for. And then being intentional. Like that's that's what brought me down as I was not being intentional about my decisions of whether or not I said yes or no to things. I would just say yes. Because I don't want you to be mad at me. You know, I was had that people pleaser syndrome. And now you're being really intentional about what you say yes and no to because you've got these other things going on in your life. Like after this interview, Jen, I'm going home and I'm riding my bike with my husband, like we're gonna go on a bike ride. And so I'm not going to say yes to any more work today. I'm going to go home. I've been working since seven. So we're building these things intentionally into our day. And then n is never settle. So you are choosing in this point in your journey to never settle for going back there to that life. Again, that does not mean that your life is sunshine and rainbows. Jen, this has been the hardest beginning of my school year of my entire career. I started the school year with 30 kindergarteners, I got COVID After the third day of teaching, so I was out for three days. And I felt I felt physically terrible. When I came back for that Thursday and Friday that I still had 30 kindergarteners, we got a new teacher, thank God, she's amazing. That transition has been challenging because she needs a lot of help. And I'm doing we're doing extra work to set her up for success, which is what we should do we want her to be you know, successful. It has been so incredibly hard. And I did have a few days there where I was very emotional. I'm not sure if I was super emotional because I was coming down on COVID Or because I was just feeling the feelings. But I consistently had to tell myself, you're feeling beginning where I am. You're feeling this way. Because this is really hard, like 30 kindergarteners in one classroom is hard. Okay. Oh, yeah. Now you have COVID. Okay, that's why you're feeling so terrible. This is temporary. This is not forever, and understanding my teacher brand, okay, are you continuing to maintain a good attitude because this is nobody's fault. This just is you had like five kids register on the day before school started. This just happened, it's out of your control. So you have to let it go and move on reflecting on your challenges. So the never settle step is really about knowing that the burnin process is not linear, it's cyclical. You're gonna continue to come back to these steps. Anytime that you are feeling yourself going back to that level one, or stage one stage zero, where you're like, what is the point? Why this just continues to get harder? And that's when you stop and you think about okay, how long have I been thinking about this? Have I talked about it? Have I asked for help? You know, all of these questions that help us to come up with an answer that helps us to take take us to the next step. And I heard a quote this morning, I was listening to another podcast and she said when you feel unsettled, it's because you shouldn't be settling. And I heard that and I was like, Oh, that's so perfect for that last step of the process. Because when you feel unsettled, it's because you know that you are not going to settle for feeling these feelings anymore. And that's when we get to start this process over again. And it becomes easier. Every time that you move through this. Rather than staying stuck and parked in burnout where I was for so long. It becomes easier to back your car to that spot and

Jen Rafferty  29:54  
move on. Oh, I love Yes, yes. And you're so right Ah, this is a journey, it is not like you wake up one day, and you got it for the rest of your life. And this is it, you don't have to do that work anymore. You know, this is the most incredible work that you get to do. Because it makes everything else in your life so much more fulfilling, so much richer, so much deeper, because you have that intentionality behind it, knowing that you are in the driver's seat. So I so appreciate you sharing all of those steps with us because they are actionable steps that people can walk away with, you know, these little nuggets of thought, as they're listening to this podcast today and hopefully start to change their mindset around what it means to be burnt out and understanding their role.

Amber Harper  30:46  
Yeah, you're welcome. I'm always so happy to share this because what we don't need in our lives as teachers is more theory and philosophy, telling somebody to take care of themselves can mean very different things to many different people. So what I needed so badly, I am very logistical. I want to know, like, what is it that I need, like, tell me what to do. So I can try it. I don't want theory, I don't want philosophy, I want action. And that's why you know, I love so much that you that use the word activation earlier, that's one of my top five strengths is activator. And that's what I try to live every day. Like if something's not going well, I want to I want to move through it. I don't know if I can necessarily fix it. But I know that there are certain things that I can do to kind of mitigate that challenge and make it lesser, you know, for me, or my kids or whatever, and you know, whatever the situation is,

Jen Rafferty  31:35  
yes. And that is again, the most beautiful gift that we have to ourselves, we're not waiting for somebody to save us anymore, we get to save ourselves in a way that feels really aligned to what we want to do and who we want to be. So that's just

Amber Harper  31:50  
beautiful. If I can say one more thing, too, is that you know, although the steps are the same, they are very open ended for you to fit into your life. There's no wrong answers. We come from different personality types, different backgrounds, different goals, different seasons of life, there is no wrong way to implement these steps into your life.

Jen Rafferty  32:10  
Yeah, it's great. And it makes it attainable and accessible for everybody, which is exactly what people need. It's great. Great. Great, it's great. So I have to ask you the same question I asked everybody on this podcast, which is, you know, in the work that you do, and coming from that perspective, what is your dream for the future of education?

Amber Harper  32:29  
My dream is that the people that are making the decisions for our schools are people who actually have worked in a school like in a public school setting. We know from so many different situations that a lot of the decisions that are made are made by people who have, if ever rarely stepped foot into a classroom for multiple days on end, to see what really happens here. And especially now, there's so many disappointing things being said, about education, about teachers about what our intentions are with students. And I think that's really disappointing, because if they were to step into any school, most schools, you would see that our intentions are good. And we really are trying to serve these kids the best way that we can and that we know how and that we're able with the time that we're allowed. And unfortunately, I don't believe that that's the case right now. And I just wish that teachers had a chance to shine. And we're able to show politicians and curriculum writers and publishers you know what real school really looks like on a daily basis. Hmm And you deserve to be paid way more.

Jen Rafferty  33:45  
Well, that would be a byproduct wouldn't it? Right exactly. Yeah, I love that you said that that is so important. And you know every time someone shares their dream out loud I hope it brings us all closer to it so thank you for sharing that so how can people get in touch with you learn more about you get your book and all of the things burned in teacher and Amber Harper?

Amber Harper  34:08  
Yeah, there's lots of ways you can find me I'm on all social media at burned in teacher all one word. So Instagram, you can send me a DM you can follow me there. That's where I hang out the most. I do have a free podcast Facebook community so facebook.com/groups/bird and teacher and of course you can go to Burnden teacher.com. To learn more about me more about the services that I offer, such as getting my you can get my book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, but all those things you can find on burnin teacher.com

Jen Rafferty  34:38  
Awesome. Thank you so much for sharing all of your expertise and your story. I really appreciate you spending your time with me especially because I know how intentional you are with your time. It means a lot. Thank you.

Amber Harper  34:49  
Thank you for having me. This was an honor. 

Jen Rafferty  34:52  
So if you enjoyed today's episode, please make sure you follow all of Amber's links that are going to be in the show notes. Subscribe and share this episode with a friend and we'll see you next time on Take Notes. 

Jen Rafferty  35:03  
Incredible right? Together, we can revolutionize the face of education. It's all possible. And it's all here for you right now. Let's keep the conversation going at Empowered Educator Faculty Room on Facebook.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai