Dutch Education: Burnout Early and Burnout Often

The assignment was simple. Write an essay on the question: “What is a burnout, and how can I avoid it?” And by the way, “You have to write the essay while you’re juggling homework for eight other high school classes, extracurricular activities inside school and extra classes outside school. Not to mention the prospect of spending your puberty in the most judgmental environment imaginable, as opposed to, say, hiding under a rock.”

My previous column on education was Let Kids Be Kids – Until Age 11, When You Must Decide the Rest of Your Life. Well, my youngest is 12 now, and the pressure is only greater. While some multinational companies are introducing the concept of ‘Work Life Balance’ to prevent ‘employee burnouts,’ Dutch high schools are teaching kids to visualize their own burnout and head straight for it.

Greg Shapiro
2017 Spring

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