It is no secret that teaching is a tough job. Both of us here at Rainbow Sky are the first to put our hands up and say there have certainly been times we wanted to throw it all in! But we all became teachers for a reason and it is our passion for the job that we need to try and keep alive for our current and future students.
Teacher burnout is a serious issue. We wanted to take some time here on our blog to discuss some thoughts and strategies to keep our fellow passionate teachers from experiencing teacher burnout before it is too late. Take these ideas as just that, some may work for you and others may not (hopefully you find one pearl of wisdom to help you).
1. Dedicate time to Self-care
Teachers are hard workers and often dedicate most of their time to the endless demands of their job. Teachers are also kings of timetabling! Why not timetabling some time in your week just for YOU. It could be something simple like going for a walk in nature or a past time you love, such as going to the movies. Just make sure it is something you can commit to every week.
2. Work Smarter, Not Harder
The teacher who is the first to arrive and the last to leave isn’t necessarily the best educator. Find ways to save yourself time here and there. Share tasks with your colleagues and take shortcuts where you can.
3. Set SMART Goals
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based. The best way to achieve a big goal is by breaking it into small achievable chunks. By doing this, you have a higher chance of meeting your set goal.
4. Get Organised
Organisation is often the key to success. Being organised can limit feelings of overwhelm. Use a teacher planner to help you stay organised and on top of all the things that make up school life. Write dates in your diary, make a note of deadlines 1-2 weeks in advance, record student marks and grades as you go and take anecdotal notes to assist your report writing later on. Doing a few small organisational things each day can save you a lot of time and stress later on (your future self will be thanking you!)
5. Radiate Positivity
It is so easy to get bogged down by the negativity that brews in a school. Rise above it! An environment where children are at the forefront should be a positive and happy one. In years gone by, my students and I have kept a gratitude diary. Each morning we would spend a few minutes reflecting on what we were grateful for, resulting in a positive start to our day.
Schools are busy places! There is always something new to try, extra paperwork to complete and amazing lessons to plan. One person can't do it all, instead, prioritise. Can your paperwork be done in a little less time to make room for you to plan a great lesson? Do you need to change what is working well in your classroom to try the latest educational fad? What extracurricular activities are you passionate about and volunteer to do those? There are only so many hours in a day, so decide what is most important and stick with that.
7. Watch your Words
Our students are often rushed and hurried through their day because we are trying to get everything required of us ticked off our list. Try limiting (or eliminating) the words ‘quick’, ‘hurry’ and ‘we haven’t got much time’ from your classroom vernacular. Give the little minds in your care the time to explore, investigate and learn without being constantly hurried.
8. Try Something New
Pick one thing you would like to try in your classroom and give it a whirl. They say that the best learning happens outside your comfort zone! It may be a success, it may be a disaster, but at least you can say you have given it a go!
By putting strategies in place early, it may help with feelings of overwhelm and burnout later. But above all else, our advice is to enjoy the time with your students because they are the reason you are there after all!
What strategies to you use to avoid burning out?
Share them with us and our Rainbow Sky Tribe!
If you are looking for more help, you might be interested in our Teacher Self-Care Journal
What to read next: