Teacher Burn Out - 3 Crucial Strategies to Get Beyond It
Feb 20, 2009 English Language Teaching (ELT) 3633 Views
If you dread the thought of waking up the next morning to drive to your teaching job and face kids all day, or have been feeling physically, mentally and emotionally run down, or if you find yourself to be more cynical, irritable or negative than usual you might be suffering from teacher burn out. Other signs of teacher burnout include sleeplessness, shortness of breath, frequent headaches, or maybe you explode easily at seemingly unimportant things. How did a job that you were once excited about turn into this?
We have all had our good days and bad days in teaching. Ever notice that we seem to remember the days when we felt burn out more than some of the good days? We have also had our good classes and our bad classes. But what is it about our bad classes that leaves us feeling burnout at the end of the day? Ultimately as a teacher we are a sponge for all the energy that comes into our classroom. If we have many students in the class who are negative, this will weight down heavily on us. Also, we have a tendency to dwell on negative things that may have happened, wondering why it happened to us, and assuming that because it happened in the past it is probable to happen again. This leaves us stressed and anxious before the start of any new school year or semester.
If you are like most of us, your bad days might have left you searching for other opportunities. You might have looked on the Internet for a 'Plan B'. Rightfully so, why would you continue if you feel burnout. Life is a journey that we should make every effort to enjoy, and not hide from. Lucky for all of us, we can take control of this state that leaves many of us quitting our teaching jobs even before we have been in it for five years.
Here are some strategies to help you out:
1) Slow Down - If you are already burned out, you will most likely not have the energy to go through a complete attitude adjustment. It is so important for you to take some time to slow down. Cut back on some of your commitments and activities (might be the time to let go of some coaching or school committees.) At this time you might also want to take a couple days off of teaching here and there to give your body and mind a chance to bounce back.
2) Get Support - Typically when we feel teacher burnout we try to conserve any energy we have left. Often times we turn to isolation to do this when it is most helpful to do the opposite. Your friends and family are more important than ever at times like this. Vent the reasons why you feel burnout, share your feelings, and express yourself to relieve some of the weight burnout has on you and help you to let it go.
3) Reevaluate Your Goals and Priorities - Teacher Burnout is a sign that something in your life is not working the way you want it to. You need to spend some time to reevaluate your goals and dreams. Are you sacrificing things in your life that you truly wish you were doing? Is teaching your ideal job, or are you doing it because you know the pay cheque is secure? What would you rather be doing? Is teaching going to afford you the lifestyle that you want to live?
Do not look at burnout as a totally bad thing. It can be a great opportunity to help you to change course in your life. It was not until I experienced some tension and teacher burnout that I began to seek out other opportunities other than teaching. Had I been completely comfortable, I would have been completely comfortable and ignorant to the financial opportunities that exist outside of the classroom.
Do not forget to check out the link in the resource box below. I've got a great free report that details my experiences with teacher burnout and the opportunities that it presented so you can learn from them.
"Want to Learn the 7 fatal mistakes I made as a teacher on a budget, So You Know What to Avoid?" Free Report explains all. Go here to check it out: http://www.OnlineMLMTeacher.com/report.html