Beating Teacher Burnout…Before it Beats You

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Remember back to what probably seems like a lifetime ago. You became a teacher to:

*Make a difference in the lives of students

*Be the person a child can look up to for guidance

*Follow your passion for education

But the changes we are facing every day in policy, procedure, and expectations are making it seem like a pipe dream. The truth is, even if you’re not getting the support you need from your administration, parents, and even students, you can still recapture that “new teacher” energy.

Since starting Student-Centered World, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to teachers from around the globe, from those who were finishing student teaching to the ones preparing for retirement. No matter what country, socioeconomic status, or experience level they are, one concept comes forward unanimously and in almost every conversation.

Teachers are tired.

A profession that used to be held in such high esteem has dropped to being a scapegoat in so many places. Teachers chose to get into teaching to make a difference in the lives of their students, but many feel like they are nothing more than paper pushers in the society that we currently live.

tired woman with crooked glasses reading books in the library

We know that teachers are the ones that mold the future for our incoming generations, but how are we supposed to do our jobs with energy, bravado, and excitement when we know that the next unnecessary and often unfair hurdle is right on the horizon?

Teaching is one of the most stressful career choices out there. A report in The Guardian, “found that one in five [teachers] felt tense about their job most or all of the time, compared with 13% of those in similar occupations.” Age and job experience don’t discriminate with this statistic, either. No one is immune to the effects of stress in teaching.

After talking to many different people and doing much research, I was able to find several contributing factors and connections that may not be in a teacher’s immediate control but have the opportunity to be changed in regards to the outcome based-off some simple changes that a teacher can make.

Group of children wearing colorful wireless headsets while working on digital tablets, the teacher can be seen supervising the students in the classroom

When I left the classroom, it was because I wanted to shift my efforts into helping as many teachers as I could. I wanted to help them reach their full potential in teaching and to stop the debilitating feeling of being overwhelmed and questioning if the classroom was where you were meant to be. Trust me, I’ve been there and it’s not a fun place. Knowing the years of education behind you and the time, money, and effort you put into a career that is making you feel like you are spiraling out of control is not fun.

According to an article from Edutopia, “Teacher stress is high partly because the demands of the job can lead to emotional exhaustion, which arises as teachers try to manage the emotional needs of their students in addition to their academic needs. Not all students come to school ready to learn, and distracted or disruptive students can quickly drain a teacher’s emotional energy.” We have more and more students entering our classrooms year after year who come carrying more emotional baggage than any child should be allowed to have.

Let’s be honest…their emotional baggage leads to ours as well.

tired man rubbing his eyes under his black glasses

This concept isn’t new, unfortunately. When I was doing research for the topic of teacher burnout, I came across a book that was published in 1980. In what could be considered “the good ole days”, there was still a risk of the burnout that many of us are facing today. The argument can easily be made that this book was merely a foreshadowing of what was to come and what we are living with now.

Coupled with the emotional side of the coin, it is literally not possible for the students we have in our classroom today to learn and comprehend the information on deeper levels if we teach the same way that we taught previous generations. They need to be engaged and have their interest sparked…and yes, it is possible to do this in every subject matter in any grade. It just takes a little elbow grease before you walk into the classroom and keeping a keen eye on what is going on while you’re there. After that, it’s cake …and will meet your expectations for what your classroom should be like on every possible level.

So as someone who left the classroom to help other teachers become the best version themselves, I decided to develop a video series (that would be completely free) to help as many teachers as I could to find that balance between working hard and burning out…and help regain their gusto in the classroom with their innate love for teaching.

Jenn Breisacher: CEO of Student-Centered World

The main thing that every single teacher I’ve spoken to complains about is not having enough time. Just like everything with Student-Centered World, I took this into careful consideration. The last thing I wanted was people get stressed out about watching a video series that they felt they didn’t have time for. Each video is 10 minutes or less and gets right to the point of what you need to know and what you need to do to help the teacher burnout.

So far, you may be wondering what in the world you can do differently to climb over this mountain of stress. It is easy with the system called the “3-M’s”.

By following the 3M system, which I personally followed and taught other teachers I worked with as well, the everyday stress of the classroom will be way more manageable and you will, in fact, find yourself looking forward to going to school every day as opposed to counting down the hours to come back home. Every day will not be perfect, as it never is when you’re working with children and the variables are high, but it will make a huge difference overall in your planning, execution, and enjoyment of your chosen career.

Five videos, under 10 minutes each, and the simple 3-M process will lead you back to having the same excitement that you had about teaching when you first enter the classroom. Truthfully, what more could you want moving forward this year?

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