What does teacher burnout look like? I know only too well because I crashed and burned a couple years ago from teacher burnout!
What does teacher burnout look like and How to Avoid It? Teacher burnout can look different on different teachers; however, there are some commonalities that run through those who are suffering from burnout. I have first hand experience from becoming so burned out that I had to leave the teaching profession for a couple years before going back. How does teacher burnout affect students-was the primary question I had on my mind at the time. I’m not sure but I knew I didn’t want to be the cause of any negative effects on students. It got to a point where I could not longer effectively perform my job and I knew it was best for myself and for my students if I took a break. My burnout came from a combination of poor administration, not being able to say no, not prioritizing my health and my family, to working at a Title I school where students need more from their teachers than the teacher can give, and last but worst, losing a student to suicide. Yes, this really happened!
You do not want to end up leaving your job or worse suffering through the burnout because you cannot leave your job. Follow some of these easy tips and tricks to avoid teacher burnout or to pull yourself out from being burned out.
What is Teacher Burnout?
What causes teacher burnout? To define teacher burnout is when a teacher has reached such a high level of stress they can no longer effectively cope with the normal stress of being a teacher. If a teacher is suffering from teacher burnout the symptoms can range from constant complaining, missing workdays, missing deadlines, having classroom management difficulties, having difficulty with relationships with staff, and at it’s highest, taking a leave of absence. If you are suffering from two or more symptoms on this list you are either in teach burnout or could be at risk for it.
Teacher Burnout What To Do? Big Change
Why do teachers burnout? One of the major causes can be a poor administrative team. What does poor administration look like? The primary job of the administrative team is to keep as much off your plate as they can so that you are able to focus on your students and effectively perform your job as a teacher. If you have an administrative staff that doesn’t have systems in place to ensure this practice you absolutely should consider transferring schools. I realize that this can be difficult, especially when you have built relationships with others on campus but having a strong supportive administrative team can mean the difference between workplace bliss and brutal workplace burnout. How common is teacher burnout? At a school like this, very! If you have constant interruptions from the office, parents, administration, other teachers (like special education etc.) than your administrative team is disorganized and not supportive of your time with your students. If your administrative team constantly schedules meetings, or asks you to do things during your prep period, they are not respecting your students or your time as a teacher. If the administrative team puts pressure on you to work during your lunch or breaks, they are not respecting you or your students. If your administrator requests more data than is typical so they can look good to their supervisor than they are not respecting you or your students. If you send a disrespectful student to the office and they VP sends them back, doesn’t follow-up with parents or doesn’t follow-up with you, you have a poor administrative staff. Does any of this sound familiar to you? If so, you have a poor administrative team and you should consider transferring schools. Do some research during professional developments with teachers from other schools before willy nilly switching schools. Ask teachers questions about their school and administrative team. It would be unfortunate to move from one school with a bad administrative team to another with a bad administrative team. If you make a change and transfer schools, this could be an actual solution to your teacher burnout. If you do switch schools be weary of taking on too many extra tasks which is a habit when someone is new to a school. New teachers are typically seen as new and energized, poised for extra tasks and a heavy workload. Do not fall into this trap and be prepared to say “no” when it is too much. Why is teacher burnout so high? A lot of it has to do with a lack of funds and resources. Teachers are expected to take on so many administrative tasks and paperwork that it makes it difficult to focus on students. What Does Teacher Burnout Look Like and How to Avoid it? Avoid or change it by making big changes or small ones.
What Does Teacher Burnout Look Like and How to Avoid it: Adjust to lifestyle
What Does Teacher Burnout Look Like and How to Avoid it? We change as people and as teachers from year to year. When we are young, we have a tendency to act more like an Aunt or an older sibling, this changes as we get older. We take on more of a mom role, and eventually even a grandmother role-yikes! If this is you, roll with the changes. Do not try to continue to fit into a role that simply doesn’t work for you anymore. Besides you don’t want to be 47 and acting like an older sibling-it just doesn’t work anymore. Leave that for the younger teachers.
What Does Teacher Burnout Look Like and How to Avoid it: Quit Something
What Does Teacher Burnout Look Like and How to Avoid it? If you have done the yearbook and newspaper for the past 7 years and you simply don’t have the time or energy for it anymore, pass it on to someone else, or give it back to administration. If you are burned out on doing something it is better for everyone involved-especially students, if there is a teacher in it with a fresh pair of eyes and a positive attitude. Don’t be afraid to give something up. Whatever it is you are doing doesn’t define you as a person and you can still be a great teacher without it,
What Does Teacher Burnout Look Like and How to Avoid it: Search for Inspiration
What Does Teacher Burnout Look Like and How to Avoid it? You can search for inspiration in watching films about teaching, reading affirmations, remembering why you got into teaching in the first place, watching youtube videos about teacher burnout, talking to other teachers who are experiencing the same emotions.
Actionable Change: How to Get Over Teacher Burnout
Do Not Take Work Home
What Does Teacher Burnout Look Like and How to Avoid it? Commit to not taking work home. Not everything has to get done. If you prioritize your work, the least important work will fall at the bottom, won’t get done, and that’s ok. There are assignments that students do that are practice and not everything needs to go into the gradebook. I find that if I end up not entering a particular assignment, students don’t even ask about it because they forget they even did it. I also have a participation grade of 5% so if I don’t grade an assignment and students do ask, I tell them it’s part of their participation grade. If you do not take work home, you will find you are more productive during your work days and your prep period. You will spend the weekend decompressing, and you will go back to work refreshed and more productive.
What Does Teacher Burnout Look Like and How to Avoid it: Say “NO”!
What Does Teacher Burnout Look Like and How to Avoid it? Learn to say “NO”! Teachers always have more than they should on their plate but more often than not, we do this to ourselves because we do not know how to say no. If it is too difficult to use the word no as a complete sentence response than have a response ready each year. Stuff typically comes up at the start of a new school year. No one can argue with a comeback of, I really need to prioritize my own kids and family this year-as in your own children, because let’s face it, they are the ones who really miss out.
What Does Teacher Burnout Look Like and How to Avoid it: Know Your Priorities
Know your work, family, and personal priorities and do not let anything hijack one of these priorities. For example, your health should be a priority. If you are staying at work too late, which results in not getting your workout in, or you order pizza instead of making a healthy meal, this is a hijacking of a priority that is all to often hijacked. Set a time for when you must leave work to tend to your priorities and follow through with it. I get it! There will be times of the year when work is heavier, like finals, etc. In which case you may have to bend your rules slightly but the rest of the time of the year, do not waiver.
What Does Teacher Burnout Look Like and How to Avoid it: Stay Healthy
As mentioned above, your health should be one of your priorities. Having good health will help you perform better and more efficiently in all areas of your life so it must be a priority. Workout at least 3 times per week for 40 min. this can be simple from walking the dog, to gardening. Get something in to take care of your physical health. Eat healthy. The most effective way to eat healthy is to plan for your meals. Pack a lunch so you don’t grab pizza or a doughnut in the staff lounge. Plan your dinners and make sure you have time to execute making dinner. If you hate cooking, try one of the healthy food delivery services, or when you order CPK for the family, be sure to get a salad. If you eat well, you will feel well, and as a bonus you will stave off all the sicknesses we typically get during the flu season.
Write in a Daily Journal
Write three things you are grateful for everyday in a daily journal. This doesn’t have to be major, it can be the simple small things that make our day run just a bit smoother. Being grateful has proved to show great results in an improvement of mental health. It can also put you in the right mindset if you record it in the morning prior to starting your day.
Morning Routine that Means Business
If you are in the stages of burnout consider making a change in your morning routine that can help to pull you out of this path of destruction. After I left the teaching profession for a few years, I knew when I reentered that I had to make some major changes if I didn’t want to burnout again. I get up each day one hour earlier than I used to. My morning routine looks like this:
10 min. of meditation
20 min. of yoga
10 min. of positive affirmation (short podcasts like the happiness podcast)
10 min. of reading a book I enjoy (not the latest on classroom policy)
This leaves 10 extra minutes if I am enjoying one particular area
Look how easy this plan is. I like to have short periods of time to complete specific tasks because if I were to do one hour of yoga, I would get bored of it quickly and might stop doing it all together, or get up later and do less of it. If I have 4 enjoyable short tasks, I look forward to this daily routine and I carry it out. Your routine may look different, or have different tasks, just ensure that the purpose is to keep you healthy in your mind and body.
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If you have experienced teacher burnout let me know your symptoms in the comments! You are not alone