It’s February. Even though this month has the shortest amount of days, it can often be the longest month of the year. This year is absolutely no different! The stress level and burnout rates among teachers are at an alarmingly high rate. This week we are going to look at what is causing these high levels of stress and what primary teachers can do to alleviate some of this stress.
What does burnout even out mean?
According to Psychology Today, burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to exhaustion, detachment, and feelings of ineffectiveness.
According to Adam M. Grant, an American popular science author and professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, “Burnout is being overwhelmed by work. Boreout is being underwhelmed by work. Having too much responsibility is exhausting. Having too little is deflating. Idle time and pointless tasks undermine energy. Motivation depends on balancing what’s meaningful with what’s manageable.”
Wow! Take a second and read that again.
Now think of these definitions in terms of being a primary educator. How incredibly true are these thought processes? We are all feeling the overwhelm of teaching these past few years especially, but there are also parts of the job that underwhelm us (analyzing test scores, faculty meetings, etc.) so we need to find the balance between the overwhelm and the underwhelming. Is this even possible?
Yes. Of course it is, but we may have to let go of old habits to instill new ones. However, once this transformation starts to take place, you will be amazed at how different life looks and how you feel.
“But how does burnout even begin to take over? I thought this only happened to new teachers.”
Welcome to the world of Covid. Covid has changed so much with education, that we can no longer rely on what we always did with our students. We have to think out of the box. As educators, we have a vision for what we think our classrooms should look like and sound like, but so often this simply doesn’t happen. Our frustrations with not meeting these expectations can also be part of the cause of our burnout.
Here are 10 Causes of Primary Teacher Burnout:
There are not many other professions that have to deal with these types of stressors day in and day out.
So if you look at these factors, burnout can occur at any stage of your career especially depending on the group of students you are teaching. Yes, almost all first year teachers will hit a point of burnout, but now with educators being expected to make up for all of the learning that was lost during Covid, any educator can and will hit that same point of burnout.
What a task to take on!
And we are not saying that Covid is to blame for all of this burnout because there are so many other factors such as social media, parents having constant communication with us, and school taking on many of the roles that occurred in the homes. You add all of these components in with the ten listed above and that is setting up a recipe for disaster.
The Mayo Clinic created a list of symptoms indicating burnout. Here are just a few to consider:
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to grab a notebook and answer each of these questions honestly. If you are finding that burnout is in fact impeding your life, then we have to look at options to help you overcome the overwhelm.
So now we know the causes and the symptoms, but what is a primary teacher to do?
Mama bear mode is now activated for this piece of the post.
Yes, teaching is a stressful job. Teaching in a pandemic for three years has never been done in our lifetime. But does this mean it’s impossible to enjoy this career?
So much of what we bring to the table for our little ones as educators is the fact that we love our jobs even on the hard days. Our students know when we’re faking it. They have some sixth sense that allows them to just know.
We have to choose to not let the overwhelm and burnout/boreout get to us. We have to choose what we tackle, when we will tackle it, and say no to everything else. Is this always easy? Nope. However, the more you begin to schedule your time and say no to the things that don’t serve you, the better you will become at it.
So much of what we face in life is brought on by our own choosing. Yes, education is a bit different of a profession because we tend to feel we have to complete 100% of our tasks each and every day. It’s simply not true.
Choose 3 tasks that will be on your “Must Do” list. If a behavior issue arises during the day and you have to contact a parent, then that becomes a “Must Do.” However, scrolling on Instagram to see what’s happening in the world of education is simply not a “Must Do.” Prioritize what needs to be done, then work from the top down.
Top 5 Ways Primary Teachers Can Avoid Burnout:
Teacher burnout is probably one of the trendiest topics in education right now. We are going to lose some amazing teachers at alarming rates. Yes, there is so much change that needs to happen in the education system, but it won’t happen overnight. You have to start making the changes you need in your classroom and hopefully, as we all begin to make these changes, a ripple effect will start to happen.
So what do you do if you or a teacher friend you know is falling into the depths of teacher burnout?
Send us a DM to set up a discovery call with us, so we can learn about you, your needs, and how to serve you to get you on the path towards teacher happiness. You deserve it! This call could be the biggest game-changing 20 minutes of your career. What are you waiting for?