It is estimated that $2.2 billion is spent annually in our public schools due to teacher turnover. It is no secret that teaching can be a stressful career. It may be a surprise, however, to learn that about half of new teachers leave teaching within the first five years of their career. Many teachers cite low salaries, negative student behavior and lack of administrative support as the primary reasons they seek employment in a completely different field.
With the numbers shown above, you can see just how necessary it is for every teacher to know how to avoid burnout. Those in the profession enter it because they have a strong desire to help children learn and grow. To see them leave what they love because strain has built up to such levels that they see no other way is simply sad. If you are new to the profession, or are finding yourself suffering from undue stress; it is imperative that you seek ways to recover after every day spent in the classroom.
Part of what can be very helpful to teachers is the support of another. Just as it is for students, it can be highly effective for teachers to work in teams. Having a partner with which to prepare and organize lesson plans can help a teacher feel more at ease with what can be an overwhelming task. Talk to another teacher who teaches the same grade as you and make the invitation to work as a team.
Extra help can also be found through parents and the students themselves. Invite students to take on tasks like cutting out or laminating papers for extra credit. Anything that doesn’t require grading or adult supervision can be a task that you delegate to students. Parent volunteers can take on the task of grading papers during their volunteer time. Every teacher knows just how much of a weekend can be given up to grade papers; so finding a solution to this dilemma can lift a large burden from your shoulders.
When you lessen your grading load, you then have time in the evenings or on the weekends to spend time being something other than a teacher. In order to love what you do for years and years, you’ve got to remember to be a person outside of that occupation. Because teaching requires you to give of yourself constantly, you must learn ways to replenish just as consistently. Take a weekend away with a friend or loved one to visit a local attraction not associated with school. Go to the beach or head to the mountains for a nature hike.
Getting out in the fresh air is a great way to relieve tension and rejuvenate the senses. Because so much of your time is spent indoors in a classroom that can get noisy, it could be quite refreshing to create an outdoor area in your home where you can go at the end of every day. Creating a small ritual of sitting in your quiet outdoor area allows you to make the switch from work to home more easily. If home contains its own responsibilities that hit you as soon as you walk through the door, stop at a local park for some quiet time before driving home.