Teacher burnout. It happens to even the best educators. But what can be done about it? How can teachers get rid of feeling exhausted and drained and wanting to be done with teaching altogether?
Below we have listed our top 5 tips to avoid teacher burnout. These have helped us to stay sharp and energized for our students.
Professional Learning Communities/PLC’s
Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s) are at the heart of every successful teaching team. When a teacher is part of a PLC, s/he is an important member of a group of educators in which s/he is valued and is crucial to the success of the students. PLC teams are a great support network for teachers, and have a structure that allows for collaboration and focusing on student data. A PLC is a team approach, and does not make any teacher feel that they are on an island isolated from everyone else. If your school does not do PLC’s we highly reccommend reading a blog post by Educational Leadership.
Prep Each Day
Every teacher needs prep each day. Whether it be 30-45 minutes before students arrive during your work day, a scheduled prep time during the school day when students are there, or prep time before the day is done, teachers need this to keep their sanity. Prep time is that small window of the day where as an educator, you get to use the time you want to. Whether it be grading papers, emailing parents, getting the next lesson ready, or the nine million other things you have to do on a daily basis, prep time is essential for a teacher’s sanity. Make sure to find that time each day!
A great way to stay connected and to talk shop in a more relaxing setting is to plan staff socials at least once a month. Our staff has done scavenger hunts, movie night, supper at a restaurant, game night and so much more. It is a great way to stay connected and to have fun with the people you see more than your family during the work week. If your staff does plan these, make every effort to attend at least some of them. You don’t want to be Debbie or Derek Downer and never attend!
Teaching students is your passion. You went into education to make a difference in your students’ lives. You can not lose sight of this. When things get in the way that aren’t directly related to impacting your students, you need to put them to the side and focus on your students.
This word can mean lots of things to educators. It can mean a movie night with family, an out to eat dinner, a weekend vacation, sitting around a campfire, or having an adult beverage every once in awhile. You have to take time for yourself to do the things that make you happy. If you can squeeze them in during the school week great, but usually these are saved for the weekends. You have to escape and take time to recharge your batteries!
To help ourselves, we have created colorful Teacher Morale Cards that are great for personal use or for that colleague that needs an extra boost. We laminated ours, put in ring clips and made them into flip books. It helps to see these every day and to keep us focused on being the best educators we can be.
We would love to hear your thoughts on how you avoid burnout during the school year!