What is Teacher Burnout?

Teaching is a good profession but a demanding career at the same time. With long working hours, teachers bear the risk of suffering from teacher burnout. That is why teachers need to find a way of how they can deal with their physical and mental health needs before it’s too late. 

Teacher Burnout

According to Psychology Today, burnout is the state in which an individual undergoes chronic stress that causes emotional and physical exhaustion. This post will walk you through the warning signs, cause of teacher burnout, and how you can avoid them. 

What Are the Teacher Burnout Signs & Symptoms?

If you want to be a teacher or you already are, you should know some of the signs of teacher burnout to help you take the necessary action when you notice them. Below are some signs of teacher burnout you may likely experience as a teacher: 

1. Feeling Irritable and Easily Gets Angered

Most teachers are undoubtedly friendly, and that’s because they will have to interact with parents and students daily. That said, a change in your naturally friendly personality is a red sign that you are suffering from teacher burnout. Some of the changes can include continually feeling irritable, getting angry frequently, among other negative personality changes. 

Teacher Burnout

These kinds of changes happen because teachers are given minimal time for self-care. For example, when you are not given the time to have enough sleep, eat healthily, the chances are that you are going to have bad emotions or low moods. This is what will result in teacher burnout in the long run. So make sure that you take the appropriate action when you notice these signs.

2. No Desire to Attend Social Gatherings

Another sign that you are suffering from teacher burnout is when you have no desire to attend social gatherings. For example, you don’t feel like going out with your colleagues, or you continuously reject invitations to attend social events. 

No Desire to Attend Social Gatherings

The reason why teachers suffering from teacher burnout don’t feel like joining others in social events is that they want to have more time to handle the many things they have in mind. In some cases, teachers suffering from teacher burnout may even decide to take mental health days to allow them to prepare for the return of school activities. 

3. Chronic Fatigue or Exhaustion

Sure, teachers have a lot to handle, and the chances are that they will feel exhausted. However, when it reaches a point when you can’t wake up daily to go to work, then that is a red sign that you are suffering from teacher burnout.

Normal fatigue or exhaustion is acceptable and common, but when it gets to a point where it becomes chronic, then you need to take action immediately to save yourself. 

4. Increased Complaints

Complaints are acceptable, primarily when you work in an organizational setup. However, you need to check your emotional health if you notice that you are always raising complaints. Teachers will occasionally have complaints to raise.

However, when you start feeling that there is nothing that can fix the problem you have, then chances are that you are suffering from teacher burnout and, therefore, need to check your emotional health.

5. Chronic Insomnia

Chronic insomnia can also be a sign that you are suffering from teacher burnout. If you find it difficult to sleep at night or you are always awake when other people are asleep, then you have insomnia that resulted from burnout. Usually, insomnia and burnout are closely related.

Chronic Insomnia

For example, you may be feeling exhausted but find it quite hard to fall asleep when you get back to the house. It is, therefore, essential to take action when you start experiencing fatigue and insomnia at the same time because they are signs of burnout.

What Causes Teacher Burnout?

1.  Extreme Amounts of Paperwork

Let’s face it – teachers are often overworked as disciplinarians, counselors, paperwork processors, administrators, lesson planners, nurses, role models, among other few roles. Such demands combined with low payouts is unbearable that most teachers start to feel burned out.  

Extreme Amounts of Paperwork

2. Lack of Respect For Career 

Many people who opt for the teaching profession see themselves as perfectionists, and tend to overlook the career itself.

Lack of respect for the career

As such, teachers will start comparing themselves to others whom they feel they don’t fit the standard. Such personality traits lead to undue pressure that contributes to burnout. 

3. No Administrative Support

One of the common causes of teacher burnout is a lack of support, especially from the administration. Many times, the administration receives pressure from the higher authority, after which they start posing unreasonable demands and expectations to the staff members.

As such, teachers begin to feel unappreciated or even worse discouraged due to the high demands put in place.  

4. Challenging Interactions With Parents

Not only do teachers lack support from administration but parents as well. Some parents lack respect and support for teachers through their frequent demands for one-on-one meetups or phone calls.

interactions with parents

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Even worse, going behind the teacher’s back to address an issue that should have been solved initially by the class teacher. Additionally, teachers would also feel burned out from unprofessional teachers who are fond of gossiping and don’t collaborate. 

5. Increasingly Difficult Student Behavior With Increases in Frequency and Severity

 Dealing with students with behavioral issues can be downright frustrating, especially when you have to deal with your kids when you get back home. Often, highly populated classrooms will discourage even the most dedicated teachers.

Not to mention, students with special needs or behavioral problems can lead to emotional stress which contributes to teacher burnout. 

How To Avoid Teacher Burnout?

1. Celebrate Teacher Accomplishments

The first way to avoid teacher burnouts is by celebrating your achievements. Sure, students are given more credit when they excel in their studies, but it is through teachers that they can achieve those results.

Celebrate Teacher Accomplishments

If you have contributed to your students excelling, you need to celebrate the achievement with friends by going out for a drink. Likewise, employers should also appreciate or celebrate teachers who excel with rewards or anything that will make them feel more appreciated. 

2. Lighten the Load

Teacher burnouts are a result of overworking teachers, such that they can no longer do the work. Employers should devise a way of reducing the workload given to teachers.

Reducing the teaching hours and the number of students a teacher will handle goes a long way to avoiding teacher burnouts. Also, creating flexible teaching hours can help minimize the chances of teacher burnout. 

3. Plan Community Activities

It is important to make teachers feel included, and this can be done by planning community activities. Teachers are mostly with students nearly all the time, and this is why the teaching profession is considered a lonely career.

Plan Community Activities

By organizing community activities where teachers can meet and talk about the challenges they face, they get relieved and realize that it is not only them trying to work tooth and nail to help students excel. Community activities are always common for the faculties, but you can also organize one for the whole school. 

4. Create a Positive Environment

Administrators should build a culture where it is easy to approach the administrators and air out a few grievances without any problems. That said, Principles or Chancellors should create a conducive atmosphere where every teacher feels included and valued.

Create a Positive Environment

When teachers feel included and valued, they will have more desire to work hard and achieve the results desired by the schools in which they teach. 

5. Improve Professional Development

Teacher preparation programs will often improve with time, but if that doesn’t happen, it might be time for the administration to implement reasonable professional development opportunities. 

While every teacher desires to feel valued, it can be quite frustrating to employ primary roles that could be better spent on grading students and planning their classrooms. Administrators should always intervene and seek guidance from higher-ups on professional development. 

6. Take a Mental Health Day

Maybe it’s time you realized that mental health days are way more critical than normal sick days. Sometimes teachers need to take a break, loosen up and let the goofy side of you out for some time before you can resume.

Mental Health Day

Usually, teachers who take mental health day breaks come back more productive. When taking a mental health day leave, don’t worry about how much work you’ll have to do when you get back to work; loosen up and wait to get back before you can start worrying about them. 

7. Learn to Say No

There are times when saying NO helps. You should know that you can’t do everything by yourself. The more you’re letting these demands to take control of yourself, the less productive you’re likely to be.

When schools are short of personnel, teachers are always ready to pick up a new responsibility, and that’s okay. However, if you feel that you have too much to handle, feel free to reject any new responsibility. 

8. Take Time for Yourself

As mentioned before, the teaching profession is the most demanding career, which is why most teachers are burnout victims.

Take Time for Yourself

Whatever this career means to you, don’t lose yourself. Instead, have some “me time” meditating, exercising, going to the movie cinemas, or even spend quality time with your loved ones. 

Conclusion

Teacher burnout can be severe and sometimes lead to depression. As a teacher, don’t hold yourself up too much. Loosen up a little bit and take mental health days when need be. The signs discussed above should help you know what action you should take. The ways to avoid teacher burnout should also help you stay clear away from teacher burnout cases.

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Sonia Kukreja
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Written by Sonia Kukreja

I am a mother of a lovely kid, and an avid fan technology, computing and management related topics. I hold a degree in MBA from well known management college in India. After completing my post graduation I thought to start a website where I can share management related concepts with rest of the people.

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