Remember when you first became a teacher and how excited and motivated you were? Do you miss that feeling, or do you still feel the same way? Teaching can have a lot of great moments, but it also includes lesson planning, grading, late nights, and let’s just be honest…STRESS!
The question remains: How do you avoid teacher burnout?
1. Think back to the WHY.
Ask yourself: Why did you decide to go into education?
Challenge: On sticky notes, write down the reasons why you chose to become a teacher. Place the notes around your workspace where you can see them. At the bottom of each note, write a positive or encouraging statement to yourself. If you prefer, you could make a colorful collection in a shadow box frame.
Then when you are having a challenging day, week, or month, or you simply need some encouragement, look at these reasons to inspire and reinvigorate your passion for teaching.
2. Find something you love to do.
Teaching can sometimes feel like a 24-7 job, whether you're teaching in a classroom, online, or through homeschooling. It's easy to think about work even after the day is complete.
Challenge: Make a list of 10 things you love to do. Then, select one activity to incorporate into your week. Finding your work-life balance helps to relieve stress and promote a positive mood.
3. Practice self-care.
Have you ever reached Friday and wondered how it's already the end of the week? As teachers, we are taking care of our students throughout the week. Many of us have children or other family members to care for as well.
Your physical, mental, emotional, and social health is crucial to being productive and healthy. When one of these aspects becomes unbalanced, the other areas of your health will also be affected.
Challenge: How can you practice self-care? Set some time aside and make it a priority to take care of yourself.
4. Turn off your devices.
When it is time to be done with work for the day, it is time to be done with work for the day. Sounds simple right? Well, not quite. We live in a society where we think we need to respond to people who want answers right away. It is tempting to check emails when you are spending quality time with your family.
Many of us are probably guilty of doing work after dinner, once the kids are in bed, or when you are trying to relax. And, sometimes it's necessary to work off-hours.
However, set boundaries between work, family, and personal time. Remember, work will always be there.
Challenge: Take a deep breath, shut off or log out of your devices, and wait until the next work day to respond. Be present, stay present.
5. Communicate with colleagues and friends.
Talk and listen to your colleagues and friends. It is vital not to disclose sensitive information about your students and other staff members. However, discussing your struggles and offering support to your peers helps relieve buried emotions.
Challenge: Find someone you trust to talk to so you are not holding in all your emotions. Suppressing emotions can cause a lot of stress, frustration, lack of sleep, and other harmful effects.
Check in with each other often and share the good with the bad. Not every day is easy, but these five tips will help you avoid burnout and remain the best teacher you know you can be.
Ashton Schaard joined the Lincoln Learning Solutions team last fall as a Health and Physical Education Teacher. She has six years of teaching experience at the college and high school levels. Ashton has a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Health and has a Master of Science in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. She is married and enjoys spending time with family in Northern Michigan. She loves to bake and try new recipes.