Whether you’ve been teaching two years or 20, take these steps to make sure you still love the classroom.Oct 01, 2020
Being a great teacher comes with a heavy price. High expectations, long hours, and low public morale can stretch anyone to their breaking point. Educator burnout — with scary markers like disillusionment, anxiety, increased personal conflicts and insomnia, to name a few — is a real threat, and striking a balance between rocking at teaching without rolling over your sanity is no easy task. Tackle teacher burnout with these powerful tactics.
Also check out this piece specifically about caring for yourself in the midst of teaching in a pandemic.
We can’t we be students' best teacher if we’re not taking care of ourselves. Get enough rest. Eat healthy snacks (and stop skipping lunch to stand in line at the copy machine). Eat dinner with your family or friends. Go see a movie. Hit the gym. Watch bad reality TV — whatever. Do something that helps you be a happy, healthy, whole person.
1. Take care of their teacher.
2. Enjoy the amazing moments.They are there every day, but sometimes we’re so caught up in going-going-going that we forget to stop and smell the roses — or, in our case, watch our students bloom. Take note of the everyday “small” successes of your students, your colleagues and yourself. Teaching is one of those professions where everyone around you is growing; it’s part of the magic that makes us love our jobs. Don’t stop noticing it.
Many of us are on learning teams where we can (and should!) be sharing our planning. Grab coffee with your team, and choose activities that you can divvy up the planning and prepping between you. Pooling ideas and resources with coworkers will help you grow individually — and closer as a team.
3. Share your workload.
You need your recovery time too. If you're now back working in a school building, only bring home a manageable amount. If you're teaching from home, set a specific schedule for when you'll be working and when you'll be enjoying home as home. (Also, remember that not everything needs to be graded. You know who you are. Admit you have a problem, and cut back by giving some work stamps or stickers for completion.) Another trick? Do what you least enjoy at school on your prep. If it’s grading, use your prep to grade and save what you enjoy more for your 'homework.'
4. Even if you're working from home, create a separation between work and home.
Yep, a little responsibility isn’t going to hurt them. In fact, they’ll probably enjoy it. If you and your students are meeting in a classroom, kids can use sanitizing wipes on desks and chairs or take turns organizing the classroom library. It might not be perfect, but it’ll get done way faster and save you the headache.
5. Utilize your helpers.
We all have room to grow, but in this field, it’s all too easy to be way too hard on ourselves. Stop beating yourself up! Learn from mistakes and let them go. You worked hard to get where you’re at — don’t forget the years you’ve spent in college, interning, studying, observing, and practicing. You’re a professional, and you can move mountains.
6. Stop being your own enemy.
With your students and their families. With your coworkers. Don’t pull away from the relationships that make our work so powerful. Purposefully give attention, care, and compassion to those surrounding you. Build relationships that are so much more than staff development modules and meeting the standards. Let them get to know you. These connections fuel our spirits and serve as constant reminders that our work is touching lives.
7. Make meaningful connections.
When times get tough, take a breather and regroup. We need you out there! Steer clear of teacher burnout by setting genuine priorities, practicing self care and focusing on the good stuff. There’s an awful lot of it.