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Ten Strategies to Avoid Teacher Burnout


By Credits for Teachers - October 8, 2018

Teaching is one of the most rewarding careers, but it is also one of the most demanding. Teachers must fill multiple roles, such as record keeping, serving on school committees and, of course, teaching. Burnout is a state of chronic stress. If you are feeling exhausted and distressed, you are not alone. According to the  Learning Policy Institute,   almost 8 percent of teachers leave each year, for reasons other than retirement. The key to dealing with teacher burnout is prevention. Here are some tips to help you avoid burnout:

Set limits

Teachers tend to be hard working achievers. You may feel that you need to take on more than you should. Instead, know your limits.  Control which activities, in addition to your teaching duties, you take on. There is nothing wrong in a tactful but firm refusal.

Arrive at school early

For most of us, the early part of the day is the most productive. Arriving perhaps a half hour before your day begins gives you quiet time to organize your materials, answer emails, and then focus on your students.

Avoid the Sunday night scramble

You know what that is. Monday morning is hanging over you like a storm cloud. You have papers to grade, and lesson plans to complete. To avoid this, do your best to prepare for the upcoming week before you leave on Friday. Then enjoy your weekend, including Sunday night.

Team up with your fellow teachers

Whether it is lesson planning, or discussing classroom problems, sharing the workload with friends and colleagues makes all the difference. Other teachers may have problem-solving tips, useful information about students, or just provide a friendly listening ear, any of which reduces your stress level.

Take care of your physical health

Everything you do is harder when you don't feel well. Be proactive in caring for your health. It may be tempting to skip breakfast or lunch, but your body needs healthy food to function at your best. Being well rested also makes your whole day better, so don't deprive yourself of sleep.

Exercise

No matter how busy you are, you need regular exercise. It is essential for your physical health, but also releases endorphins that will keep you emotionally healthy. You don't have to go to a gym. You can take a walk, go for a bike ride, or do yoga. 

Maintain your perspective

The responsibilities of teaching can be overwhelming. You are trying to teach your students, as well as being aware of the challenges they face in their personal lives. It is important to remember that no matter how hard you try, you can't save the world. Do what you can for your students, but know your limits.

Nourish your mental health

Your mental health is important. Perhaps you need to spend a day reading for pleasure or listening to music. You know what soothes your soul and leaves you refreshed. You cannot help others if you are burned out.

Find your sanctuaries

You don't always need to take a whole day to recharge your batteries. You may need an hour in your favorite cafe, or a park bench in a peaceful place. It may even be a quiet place in your school. When you feel yourself becoming stressed, find your sanctuary and even if you only have a few minutes, breathe or meditate.

Separate your work and home life

Teaching can be all-consuming, but you do not have to sacrifice your personal life to be a good teacher. As a teacher, your work will never be completely caught up. Do the best you can, but when the day is over, enjoy your life with your family and friends.  

You will be a more effective teacher if you take care of your own needs and prevent burnout. 
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Credits for Teachers offers self-paced online Professional Development courses for K12 teachers. Whether you need innovative teaching strategies or graduate credit for salary advancement, Credits for Teachers has you covered...