Finding Professional Balance

What can we do to better support our teachers in ways such as development to help decrease the burnout rate?
—I., Connecticut

Teacher burnout is a world-wide phenomenon. My predecessor, Mary Bigelow, addressed this issue a couple of years ago ( but it merits continued discussion. I’ve maintained that strategies for avoiding or mitigating burnout should be part of teacher education, but most educators don’t receive any formal training in these strategies.

I tried to focus on the things in my control and kept my highest priority—the happiness of my family and myself— in mind. I wouldn’t have been any good to my family, or my students, had I burnt out.

You are not alone
Confide in friends, family and colleagues about what you’re facing. Teachers associations will likely have phone lines and councillors for you to contact. There is no stigma to admitting you need help. Also watch your colleagues for signs of burnout.

Work hard, but not stupid
Look at how you work and set some realistic goals. Modify your assessment strategies to reduce grading. Drop some voluntary committees, coaching or supervision no matter how much you like it. Try arriving a little earlier or staying later on some days to prepare and grade while preserving other evenings and weekends for you and your family.

Incorporate wellness into your life
Is your diet (reasonably) healthy? Do you have any exercise routines? Don’t dwell on things you can’t control and look at positive things you are accomplishing. Take up or revisit a hobby. You are no good to anyone if you are sick so take time off to address your health.

Take care of yourselves, people!


Photo Credit:  Firesam! via Flickr

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