How To See It Coming
Teacher burnout is more than just a “funk”. According to Sarah Bousquet, a professor from the American International College, it is much deeper than that. It is a psychological state that has to do with issues such as cortisol levels. Some contributing factors are:
Factors that have NOT found to significantly contribute are:
Teachers are quitting their jobs at an alarming rate. Non-teaching departure rates are at 11%, while teaching departure rates are at over 16%. There are several factors that lead to the kind of stress that would cause teachers to leave the profession. Some include: Type A personality, occupational commitment, type of school setting, and achievement striving.
*Most important to the body when trying to avoid stress:
Stress occurs when your body feels that these things are being threatened!
Avoiding Teacher Burnout
Ben Johnson has laid out a series of comprehensive steps in determining teacher burnout and what you can do to stop this “funk” that you may be in.
Have fun daily with your students: Share jokes, brief stories, and brain teasers. Anything to lighten up the mood, and they can be easily altered to align to the topic of the day!
Take care of your health: The physical status of your body reflects your emotional responses. If you can go to the gym and workout at least two times a week, or simply do some push ups and set ups, you will be truly surprised at the amount of energy you will have at the end of the day.
Learn something new and share it with your students: Share interesting educational things with the students. For example, you could show them a "Ted Talk", or a small youtube video that not only peaks their interest, but yours as well! You could even just simply tell them about an interesting book you have been reading.
Help another teacher: An interesting thing you might do is to start an uplifting blog for burnt out teachers and new teachers alike. You should be active in your professional career. Sign up for workshops, and volunteer to teach and mentor other teachers.
Make someone’s day: This can be as simple as calling a parent to let them know how great their child is doing in class. You can also show gratitude to fellow co-workers and administrators by giving them compliments and or a small gift.
Lighten up: One simple word: smile! This makes a huge difference, and when you greet your kids with a smile, they feel more appreciated and cared for.
Be a scientist: Do controlled experiments and ask for students to help. Then you can document your results and share them at meetings!
Look for the Positive: Be Positive! This sounds like a no brainer, but it is surprising how difficult this can be. Others will benefit from you being positive by being uplifted and in a better mood.
Redecorate: Move desks and make new seating charts. Use new room fragrances and scents, re-decorate and liven up your room with posters and bulletins!
Trust students more: It is imperative that you show students that they can be trusted more and more. Try things like project based work, and develop strong rubrics that students can follow. Let students learn as you facilitate and supervise.