Four Essential Ways to Avoid Educator Burnout
Every educator has been there—you’re short-tempered, exhausted and pessimistic. You experience little joy during the school day and may even be thinking about switching careers. This is what we call "burnout."
Experienced teachers and administrators know that happy educators are more effective educators. They also know they need to be able to recognize personal signs of burnout and counteract them with good self-care practices--before it’s too late.
EducationWorld therefore offers the following four tips to help manage stress and keep morale high. Share and implement these tips with colleagues in order to foster a positive workplace climate.
Seek out help and inspiration.
Educators often find themselves feeling isolated, despite the presence of numerous colleagues in the same building. Make sure your school offers ways for staff to interact, collaborate, share ideas, observe each other and engage in group problem-solving. And don’t stop at your building. Social media platforms such as Twitter offer a way to connect with virtual colleagues. For example, EducationWorld and others have suggested some notable educators to follow on Twitter. Also, be sure to explore quality educator blogs—they’re a great way to hear about the successes and challenges of others like you.
Focus on what’s going well.
With so many daily challenges in the life of an educator, it’s easy to dwell on the negative. Periodically make lists of small victories, subtle improvements, things that are going well, things you have enjoyed, and accomplishments of which you are proud. Refer to this list after a tough day or whenever you need a lift. Keeping a list like this will increase your awareness of positive events as they occur, helping you to appreciate the rewards of your job.
Administrators know that setting school-level goals is important. In addition, personal professional development goals help remind educators why they started teaching in the first place. Continuing to learn and grow is a great way to keep a positive frame of mind, and the opportunity to implement a new idea can be energizing.
Choose one or more areas in which you want to improve this year—whether that means incorporating more multicultural content or teaching diversity skills to students, integrating technology using best practices, trying a new evidence-based instructional strategy, or any number of other worthy goals. Find someone or something—either inside or outside your building—who/that inspires you, and create a plan to make it happen.
Ensure that your goals are realistic.
Setting the bar high is motivating, but setting it too high can be demoralizing. Don’t fall prey to a “superman/superwoman” complex (“If I only put in X more hours, I can get it all done."). Consider whether you are simply trying to do more than one person could possibly do. You may not have control over your entire task list, but take control of what you can and when possible, gracefully decline to add more things to your plate.
For many more burnout-prevention tips, check out these articles from EducationWorld’s stress management and self-care archive:
Article by Celine Provini, EducationWorld Editor
Copyright © 2013 Education World