No, the effective teachers were the ones who cared deeply about their students but also did what we’re all supposed to do on airplanes. They secured their oxygen masks before assisting others. George Carlin laughed at that advice — ” I do not need to be told that” — but it came in handy. They felt less altruistic, but they actually helped more. Their giving was energizing instead of exhausting.
But there’s such a thing as being too generous. It’s a recipe for burnout. Take teachers. Education is about helping students, so we love teachers who are selfless. But in our research Reb Rebele and I found that the most selfless teachers ended up being the least engaged in the classroom — and their students did the worst on standardized achievement tests.