How to Avoid Teacher Burnout

Three Parts:Improving Your MindsetReducing Your Stress at SchoolMaking Time For Yourself

Being a teacher is physically, mentally and emotionally challenging. Many teachers find themselves stretched to the limit with demands from parents, students, administrators and policies. While being a teacher can be stressful, it is also a very rewarding career. The key to remaining happy in the profession is learning how to avoid teacher burnout.

Part 1
Improving Your Mindset

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    Attend a teaching seminar or workshop. You may feel burnout because you're stuck in a rut and have been teaching the same material for a while. Sign up to attend a local workshop or national teaching conference. You'll be exposed to new ideas, passionate teachers, and new ways to think about your profession.[1]
    • Talk with other teachers at your school about the concepts you took away from the seminar. You might actually help other teachers who are struggling to stay excited about teaching.
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    Regain your passion by talking to past students. It's easy to focus all of your energy and stress on the students who are causing problems or are struggling. Remind yourself that you've had successful students who enjoyed having you as a teacher. If you can, reconnect with some of those students to remind yourself that teaching is worth the effort.
    • Another trick is to remember what you loved about your favorite teacher. Try to include some of this person's positive traits into your own teaching.[2]
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    Relax to reduce your stress. Practice some form of relaxation. You could meditate, do yoga, get a massage, or do deep breathing. Make sure you choose something that helps you completely unwind from teaching and reduces your anxiety.
    • You should also relax during school breaks. Studies have shown that relaxing over breaks prevents exhaustion and burnout.[3]
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    Don't make it personal. As a teacher, you have a lot of responsibility. It's easy to think that when things aren't going as smoothly as you'd like, that it's because of something you're doing (or not doing). For example, if you're feeling frustrated or burned out because you think a student doesn't respect you, you may be personalizing the problem. Instead, consider what might really be causing the problem.[4]
    • While you may think the student doesn't respect you, you may not have considered that the student is having problems at home and is taking out frustration in the classroom.
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    Focus on what you enjoy about teaching. You're probably used to getting feedback and criticism from fellow teachers, administrators, parents, and even students. Instead of getting hung up on their concerns, remind yourself that you're making a positive difference in the lives of your students. Let yourself see the good in your job and remind yourself why you enjoy teaching.[5]
    • Try to compliment yourself when you do anything that you're proud of or that helps a student.
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    Talk to someone about your frustrations. If you find that you're still struggling to get excited or motivated about teaching, talk to someone. Many schools have counselors or you could talk to colleagues. You might find that other teachers are feeling similar frustrations and have helpful ways to cope.
    • You can also talk to a professional therapist outside of the school. Just talking to someone outside of the school might help you regroup and recharge.

Part 2
Reducing Your Stress at School

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    Decide what's most important to you. It's easy to feel overwhelmed by a lot of little things when you're a teacher. Conquer this feeling by writing down a list of the key things that are important to you in your job and make them your focus. For example, instead of getting stressed out about preparing your students for a weekly quiz (that happens every week), put your efforts towards helping them prepare for the big term exam.[6]
    • Evaluating your goals also reminds you of what you've been able to accomplish. Your goals should be attainable or you'll frustrate yourself.
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    Plan lessons with a teacher's aide or another teacher. If you're in a large school where several teachers teach the same grade, work together to come up with lesson plans, activities, or exams. Not only will this lighten your work load, but you can also discuss similar problems or concerns.[7]
    • You might even discuss combining your classes for some activities. You and the other teacher could trade off leading the class and using the free-time for grading or more lesson planning.
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    Connect with other teachers. If your school offers professional development or ways for teachers to interact, you should participate. Teaching can be an isolating job. But taking time to engage with other teachers at your school can make you feel more invested and supported in your job. Just make sure to avoid spending too much time around other teachers who complain all the time or who don't enjoy their jobs.[8]
    • You can also communicate with other teachers through social media if you find that it's hard to schedule time to meet up in person. Check out blogs that other teachers manage.
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    Spend time every morning to prepare for your day. As the school year progresses, you might find that it's harder to be prepared for teaching. Give yourself a fresh start and plan to get to school early one week. Getting to school 30 minutes early can give you time to finish up any last minute details, respond to emails, or just focus on the day ahead. Try to plan out your week so you're not scrambling every day.[9]
    • Being prepared will keep you from feeling rushed which can lead to burnout. At the very least, spend 15 minutes every night preparing for the next day.
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    Organize and file your teaching materials. If you feel burned out because you can't seem to catch a moment's rest or are always scrambling to get through the day, you need to organize. Organize your teaching materials so you can easily find things and get rid of unnecessary things that are just taking up space.[10]
    • Being organized will help spend your time making daily lesson plans and weekly schedules instead of searching for materials and files.
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    Figure out what's causing burnout and face those problems. You may feel like a combination of things is causing burnout, so try to confront your biggest cause of stress at school. If you struggle with difficult behaviors in your classroom, you may need to meet with parents or bring in school support staff to talk with the student.[11]
    • Running away from your stressors will only lead to burnout. It may take a little time and energy to resolve your problems, but it will improve your work environment.

Part 3
Making Time For Yourself

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    Balance your work and home life. This may be easier said than done. But you can try to leave work at school so that when you're home you're mentally home too. Not only will time at home help you unwind from the stresses of the day, but you'll be able to focus more on school when you're at work.[12]
    • Remind yourself that there will always be work to be done. But it's alright to leave it at work and take time to be home. If you don't, you'll quickly burnout.
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    Take a day off to care for yourself. Don't be afraid to take a day off from teaching if you're sick, your child is sick, or you just need a mental health day. This is especially important if you're feeling really anxious, aren't sleeping well, and are struggling to function. Spend the day doing something that recharges you.[13]
    • If you take the day off, don't do anything school related. Use this day to heal, rest, and refocus your energy.
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    Eat healthy meals that increase your energy. You'll quickly feel burnout if you don't take care of yourself. Make sure you're eating several healthy meals throughout the day (even if you're busy). Try to eat healthy things that give you energy (like lots of fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates). Choose lean sources of protein for sustained energy.[14]
    • Avoid eating processed foods and loading up on sugary drinks or caffeine. These can cause sugar crashes that leave you feeling fatigued.
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    Exercise to reduce stress and calm your mind. One of the best ways to reduce stress is to exercise or do some physical activity. Try to get 30 to 40 minutes of exercise every day. Exercise is great for your health and can reduce your stress levels. Just choose a physical activity that you enjoy. Consider going for a walk, swimming, jogging, or strength training.[15]
    • Try to put work aside while you exercise. Let yourself focus on the activity you're doing rather than what you're worried about with your job.
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    Do something that you enjoy. Try to spend some time every day doing something that you enjoy even if it's only for 20 or 30 minutes. Take a long shower, read a book, go for a walk, or watch your favorite tv show. Teacher burnout is something that only you can control so making time for yourself is important.[16]
    • If you don't regularly make time to do something you enjoy, you'll soon begin to resent your job.

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Categories: Teaching