As teachers, we may start the school year full of enthusiasm, excitement and a positive outlook, but as the year goes on, we may start to feel teacher burnout. Over years of teaching this burnout may intensify and become obvious to colleagues, parents and your students. Here are some signs of burnout and a 5 ways to avoid teacher burnout.
Signs of teacher burnout:
Feeling hopeless and overwhelmed by the paperwork and workload of teaching
Feeling as if nothing you do will help your students
Not wanting to go to work
Withdrawing from your work colleagues
Catching yourself always speaking negatively about your colleagues or students
Mental, physical or emotional exhaustion that persists over time
Five ways to avoid teacher burnout
1.) Send out an SOS
Reach out to your support network. Tap in to the supports you have in your life including friends, family and trusted colleagues. If your mental health is suffering, set up a time to talk to a mental health counselor. If you teach at a public school, the school counselor may be able to give you a referral for a professional to talk to.
I risk coming across like your grandma here but bear with me for a minute…The thank you note (or email) is one of the most powerful and effective ways to make you stand out. This “tool” is simple but has almost been forgotten recently. I want to see it come back because EVERYONE loves receiving a hand written thank you note. Nobody will balk at receiving a genuine “thank you” note. At this point, the rarity of receiving one will make you stand out among your peers in the job interview process as well.
When to write one:
If anyone goes out of their way to help you with anything, this is a perfect opportunity to write a thank you note. Here are some examples of when to write a thank-you note:
This may be a nerve-wracking and intimidating notion but around the beginning of the new year, I urge student teachers (not practicum students) to invite your administrator (principal) to observe them teach a lesson.
Here are some of the reasons this observation is important:
As part of the interview process for teachers, school districts are asking teachers to do a “practical interview.” A practical interview allows you to teach a short lesson while the administrator observes you.
The school you are teaching in may be a place you want to apply for a teaching job. If the administrator has had a chance to watch you teach while you are student teaching, they will be able to be knowledgeable about your style of teaching, ability to manage a classroom and conduct an engaging lesson.
Inviting an administrator to observe you teach reminds them you are at the school: School administrators are busy and unless you go out of your way to ask, they may not go out of their way to come observe you.
Express to the principal that you would like the opportunity to also get their feedback after the observation. This may lead to a follow-up meeting where you can debrief and reflect on your teaching.
Why Create a classroom Slogan for Inclusion?: Our classrooms are increasingly diverse in their makeup. We have students who have special needs, who are at-risk, experiencing poverty and English Language Learners (ELL). As teachers it is valuable to create a slogan or mantra that can be used to promote inclusion within the classroom. Continue reading →
A free and easy way to start building relationships with students is by meeting and greeting them at the classroom door every morning. Head Start has foverever had this as a policy so they can do health checks and check in with the student emotionally before school starts. Here are some reasons every teacher should meet and greet students every morning:
Use your voice as a tool: As teachers, one of the best tools we have is our voice. Ensure that all students can hear you by projecting your voice. You can make your voice louder or softer as needed. Work on developing a ‘stern’ teacher voice to use when you need it, but be careful not to overuse it. If you use a soft-spoken or quiet voice while teaching, students may talk over you and start to take over the lesson. Practice using your voice as a tool in your car on the way to school, at home, and during lessons to see the impact it has on your teaching.
Pre-teach behavioral expectations BEFORE starting the lesson:Be pro-active rather than reactive. Spend a few moments before teaching your lessons being explicit about your behavioral expectations. What do students’ bodies, voices, and eyes need to be doing during the lesson? Be specific: “Eyes on me, hands in your lap, bottoms on the floor.” Use the same language as your motor teacher so students hear the consistency.
Notice or ‘catch’ students who are following through on the behavioral expectations:During the lesson make sure to ‘catch’ or notice the students who are following the behavioral expectations you explained at the start of the lesson. This can be as simple as saying “I notice Johnny has his hands in his lap, thank you Johnny.” Follow through on the same language your mentor teacher uses to praise student behavior for consistency. Do you have a classroom-wide behavior incentive in your classroom? If so, follow through and use the plan throughout the lesson.