|Graur Codron for freedigitalphotos.net|
This isn’t really about getting a particular score but about noticing the pattern of your answers. If you can’t choose between two answers, pick both. If you can’t relate to a certain question, skip it.
Some of these questions are specifically for teachers, but you can easily adapt them to suit your own situation: for example, instead of “your students” you can think about your clients, patients, customers or parishioners.
1. Complete this sentence: In my free time…
a) I relax and enjoy myself.
b) What’s “free time”?
c) I do things that mean more to me than my job.
d) I complain about work.
2. How do you feel after a really tough day?
a) “I’m glad that’s over.”
b) “I wish I didn’t have so much work to do tonight.”
c) “I wonder if this job is worth all the hassle.”
d) “I can’t take many more days like this.”
3. How do you feel about your students (or the group you serve)?
a) I get as much from them as they get from me.
b) There aren’t enough hours in the day to meet all their needs.
c) I have trouble relating to them sometimes.
d) Honestly? I don’t really like them.
4. What kind of relationship do you have with your colleagues?
a) We get along really well.
b) I wish we had more time to chat and share ideas.
c) I feel like we’re working at cross-purposes sometimes.
d) Why would I want any kind of relationship with those people?
5. Do you feel like your work has a positive impact?
b) Yes, and I’m always looking for ways to make an even bigger impact.
c) I used to think it did, but I’m not sure anymore.
6. How do you feel about the subject you teach (or the main focus of your job)?
a) I love it!
b) I wish I had more time to focus on it, instead of all the meetings and paperwork.
c) It’s OK, I guess.
d) I’ve lost whatever interest I once had.
7. How did you feel when you accepted your current job?
c) I can’t remember.
8. How did you feel after work last Friday?
a) “What a great week!”
b) “Two more work days ‘til Monday...”
c) “I hope next week will be better.”
d) I couldn’t stop crying.
9. You get into an argument with one of your students (or clients): What’s your reaction?
a) “I’m hurt. I thought all my students loved me.”
b) “That wouldn’t have happened if I weren’t so frazzled.”
c) “That wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have to enforce rules I don’t even agree with.”
d) “Not again.”
10. Overall, which word best describes your current job?
If your answers are…
Mostly A’s: You have the occasional bad day like anyone, but basically you’re in a job that really suits you, and you seem to have a lot of positive energy. This might be a good time to read some of the Recommended Books in order to deepen your mindfulness practice and share it with others.
Mostly B’s: You’re committed to your work, but it’s taking a lot out of you. Even if it feels like you have no time for yourself, you need to figure out some ways to recharge. Check out Self-Care for Mindful (but Busy!) Teachers for some suggestions.
Mostly C’s: You've got a lot to offer, but you don't seem to be in the right niche. Could you apply to a different school? Change the level or subject you teach? Go into (or get out of) administration? Change careers completely? (You might be inspired by the Interviews--there are a lot of different ways to serve the world.)
Mostly D’s: You should seriously consider quitting, retiring, or taking a leave of absence. This doesn’t make you a bad person, or even necessarily a bad teacher. It’s just time to move on, as soon as you can responsibly do so: Make sure you can pay for basic expenses, and try not to leave anyone in the lurch. In the meantime, some of the Free Mindfulness Activities might help you handle the challenges of your job. Hang in there!
Never Work Harder Than Your Students (recommended book)
Quick Sanity Breaks (poster)
Recharge and Avoid Burnout
Should I Quit My Job? (quiz)