How to avoid Teacher burn out

by Misty Weatherford

It’s only October first, and teachers everywhere are burnt out already! Our favorite thing about teaching was taken from us last year, and this year, our lives are a lottery that we have no control over. We get smaller class sizes, our curriculum is downsized, and our classes are just different.

We know our students are missing some of their buddies. It sounds small, but for young people, not having their buddies can be the difference between happy, and sad kids; and sad kids don’t perform as well as happy ones!

My school is hybrid, and teachers are in the building the same amount as we were before. We are a four day a week school, and are off on Fridays. We are taking temperatures at three different doors, and sending kids home with fevers. (I haven’t thankfully had to do that yet though).

Needless to say, in whatever capacity, teachers around the world have been on a scavenger hunt of their lives, to find their joy, and hold it dear. So what does that look like? How do we find our Joy? For me, my joy for the longest time was linked to the kids. COVID showed me that the government has more control about these interactions then I ever thought possible.

Which as a civics teacher, both aggravates and intrigues me. I adore my job, my kids, and I am even lucky enough to have great co workers and admin. But without the kids, whats the point? The point is, whether in person or online our “job” is to interact, to love, to support and encourage the next generation of human beings. You could easily be teaching the next president of the United States. Or the next Nelson Mandela, or Justice Ginsberg, but you are just too tired to see it.

My tips for avoiding burn out:

  1. Have set hours that you respond to messages and emails from students and parents. They won’t die I promise! I thought they might, I was so convinced the world would come to an end if I didn’t respond to students right away, or that I would get fired if I didn’t respond to a parent. In my school and most of our schools, this time has become about survival, but what if we thrived instead? and stopped playing fear narratives in our head? I set hours, I only respond to emails Monday through Friday until 4pm. I have stuck to this for almost four weeks now and I am on cloud nine with the amount of freedom I feel.
  2. Focus on a few subjects each unit that you adore. You know the topics! The ones that light up your life, that ignite a light inside your heart and you cant wait to share that joy with your students. Mine are the Holocaust, and the Dirty Wars.
  3. Clean one item in your house a day. Trust me on this! When you come home, you should be coming home to a stress free zone (or as best as you can!). Having a cleaner atmosphere will make you feel less stressed!
  4. Organize your desk, make your copies and pick up your floor before you leave each day. This will help your work environment be a stress free zone first thing in the am, which will kickstart your day with a positive vibe.
  5. Reflect and identify three things you are thankful for first thing in the am and before you go to bed. This will help refocus your mind on the positives in your life. Even if you have stress, it will seem a little more manageable.
  6. Have fun with your students. I dance in class, sing to the students (often to put away their cell phones) haha, but I have a blast with them daily. Even when they do silly things, I have an Amaazing group of kids, I am so blessed!
  7. Plan ahead! Scrambling to find your groove, when you don’t have a plan is quite difficult, and honestly so stressful. Plan!! It is worth the lack of stress, trust me! I have a post on planning and three planners that I recommend. Planners generally reflect you. Mine has a weekly, monthly planner, to do’s, important dates, coloring sheets, Goals and so much more! It is literally inspiring to write in it! I paid around 50$ for this and I don’t think I will ever go back to anything else! If you want one like mine: is your one stop shot for planner goodness, designed perfectly for you! (I am not an affiliate, I am just in so much love with this planner!)
  8. Do something you love daily! Preferably something outside the classroom. Me, I go on a hike around our property with my pups and sometimes my favorite chicken, after work. It is my de-stress, focus on my loves time and It is amazing how I feel afterward! I also write, create, and love on my friends daily, because the world needs more love.

I hope these 8 tips on avoiding burn out helped you today! These are my go to’s and I truly want to help teachers love their lives more, love you so much! Have a fabulous day!



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