As educators and school leaders wrestle with the impact of an increasingly digital world, they’re asking how to keep students engaged. All the while they also prepare them for a future filled with new challenges. As part of this change, some teachers are beginning to suffer from “burnout” syndrome. Even as districts begin addressing this issue, it remains critical to find measures that will help us balance our work lives and prevent burnout. How can we combat these negative effects? Read on for more information on the dangers of teacher burnout and how you can prevent it from happening to you.
What is Teacher Burnout?
Teacher burnout is a syndrome that affects a person’s emotional and mental state. Eventually, this could lead to a decline in their performance and desire to continue working in their profession. Typically, burnout affects people in professions that require a lot of self-discipline and enthusiasm, such as teaching. It’s commonly associated with long hours and low pay, but it can be helped by taking steps to manage stressors and reduce your workload. If you experience these symptoms, it may be a sign that you’re experiencing burnout. The most effective way to prevent burnout is to identify early warning signs and take steps to address them. Sadly, many educators experience burnout when they’re already feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope.
Signs and Symptoms of Teacher Burnout
- Feeling emotionally drained and lethargic. This is the first sign that you’re beginning to experience burnout. If you’re feeling sluggish, low-energy, and like you have nothing left to give, that’s a clear sign that you need to take time off and re-charge.
- Feeling a sense of frustration and a decline in self-confidence. When you feel like you can’t do your job effectively, or like you don’t have the appropriate skill set to make a difference, it’s a clear sign that you’re experiencing burnout. If you’re feeling like your efforts are going to waste, it’s time to seriously reconsider the state of your career.
- Experiencing feelings of isolation and wanting to withdraw from everyday activities. Are you feeling like you don’t have the energy or motivation to keep up with social activities or your relationships are suffering? This may be a sign that you’re experiencing burnout. When you’re experiencing burnout, it can be difficult to remain engaged with others and keep up with your usual activities. If you’re feeling like you need to spend more time alone and less time engaging with others, this may be a sign that you need to reevaluate your workload and take steps to reduce your stress.
Why Does Teacher Burnout Happen?
Teacher burnout is caused by a combination of factors. This includes stress, overwork, and a lack of social support. These factors can be exacerbated by the state of the modern education system. Teachers are given increasingly unrealistic expectations of their ability to engage students and reach different learning outcomes. While teaching is a rewarding profession, it’s also one that’s very difficult to get into. It also requires a great deal of patience and motivation. To make matters worse, many teachers are also responsible for managing their own workload and representing the school as a whole. If you’re feeling like you have too much on your plate, it’s important to take steps to reduce your commitments and prioritize your mental and emotional health above all else.
Tips to prevent teacher burnout
- Create a Self-Care Plan: While it may sound clichéd, the first step toward preventing burnout is to create a self-care plan. This can help you identify your stressors and prioritize how to best manage your time in order to reduce your workload. While a self-care plan won’t magically solve all of your problems, it can help you identify areas in which you need to make changes.
- Make Time for Yourself: We all lead busy lives, but it’s important to make time for yourself. Treat yourself to a spa day, get enough sleep, and don’t forget to leave time for your friends and family. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be easy to forget about the things that make you happy.
- Get Support From Colleagues: While it’s important to take time for yourself and spend time with loved ones, it’s also important to make time for your colleagues. By forming strong connections with your peers, you can support each other through challenging times, and it can be easier to approach administrators about taking time off for stress-related illnesses.
- Don’t Forget About Your Students: Last but not least, don’t forget about your students. It’s important to prioritize your mental and emotional health, but it’s also important to make time for your students. Make time for classroom discussions or one-on-one meetings with students to check in on their progress and make sure you’re meeting their needs.
Are there too many teachers experiencing burnout?. What strategies do you use to prevent teacher burnout?
Disclaimer: This article is not medical or mental health advice from medical professionals, so always refer to your Doctor for advice in treating mental health issues.
If you are in crisis or you think you may have an emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) to talk to a skilled, if you’re having suicidal thoughts, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area at any time. If you are located outside the United States, call your local emergency line immediately.