Each fortnight, we have a “New Teachers Lunch”. The group doesn’t just consist of beginning teachers but is rather made up of new teachers to our Junior School so there is a range of experience and views. We often have a theme or topic for the lunch and the latest was teacher well-being.
We discussed the all illusive work-life balance which led us to debating the benefits of social media and teaching. There are many benefits to utilising social media to enhance teaching e.g. sharing ideas, resources and exemplars, but I believe there can be a negative that I haven’t really seen discussed: FOMO in teaching.
Definition of FOMO courtesy of Google:
1. anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.“I realized I was a lifelong sufferer of FOMO”
So how does this relate to teaching? Teachers are more connected than ever to teachers not only in their own school and professional learning communities but across the globe. As mentioned this means they have access to an endless stream of resources, ideas etc. As a result this means we are comparing and evaluating our pedagogical practice, ideas and resources against this endless stream.
This can lead us to that feeling of “FOMO”
We fear we are missing out on a great resource, our students are missing out on an excellent lesson idea or our school is missing out on an innovative program. Leading us to make unreasonable comparisons and chase that perfect lesson – there goes that “work-life balance”, not consolidate resources and ideas we have been incorporating as we replace them with the latest one we found on Pintrest and overload our pedagogical toolkit with new ideas and strategies.
So how do we deal with FOMO in teaching? I found a blog listing 10 ways to overcome FOMO – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stronger-the-broken-places/201501/10-ways-overcome-fear-missing-out
Could these be applied to teaching? Just looking at the first two strategies , I can definitely see how they apply to teaching – slow down and practice discernment.
Have you experienced FOMO in your teaching practice? Can we come up with a better acronym than FOMO?