How to Overcome Teacher Burnout

Burnout is one of the real non dual teachers field. The dropout rate among teachers in the U.S. has climbed to 50% within the first five years of teaching.

Burnout is caused by some factors the teacher can control, while there are factors that are outside of the teacher’s control. Uncontrollable things include the burden of stiff federal and state mandates, which are coupled with limited budgets and resources. We will concentrate on those things that the teacher can assume some degree of control.

Some of the things that cause burnout is within the control of the teacher. Other factors lie outside the teacher’s ability to control. These include crowded classrooms, the availability of textbooks, good resources, and stiff governmental mandates. In this discussion we will concentrate on remedies that are within the teacher’s control.

In the United States, the dropout rate for teachers has climbed to 50% by the end of five years. This makes teaching the profession with the highest turnover rate. This, coupled with a large number reaching retirement age, makes for a real teacher shortage.

Here are some of the factors that are contributing to push teachers out of their preferred line of work:

  • long hours past the end of the day, preparing lessons and grading papers
  • gathering sufficient resources for the classroom
  • inadequate textbooks
  • inferior working conditions
  • too many meetings
  • too much paper work
  • too many roles: nurse, babysitter, counselor, administrator, and (time permitting) educator…

All this leads to burnout, and this is closely related to depression. Here are some symptoms of teacher burnout:

  • feeling of helplessness, being overwhelmed
  • loss of enthusiasm for the job
  • loss of energy
  • lack of innovation in their classroom planning; using the same handouts over and over
  • taking no action to motivate the students; if he doesn’t want to learn, that’s okay…
  • less frequent attendance in professional development

What can be done about this? The most important thing a teacher can do is remember WHY he/she came into this profession… to make a difference in the lives of children, right? She needs to focus on giving them useful skills and habits that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

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