Teacher Burnout: The warning signs

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Many people outside of the teaching profession see the 6 weeks’ holiday and the short school hours and think teaching is easy and teachers have nothing to complain about. They don’t see the work teachers do at home, the long working days, the worry they have for some students and the pressure to make sure their students are progressing, engaged and focused. These factors and others, can be a massive contributor to teacher burnout.

But how do you spot the warning signs of teacher burnout?

Here are just some of the warning signs to look out for (Maslach, Schaufeli, & Leiter, 2001):

  1. Exhaustion – feeling both physically and emotionally exhausted. This could be in the form of mood swings, headaches or insomnia.
  2. Detached from life – Becoming detached from work, avoiding contact with others, or feeling displeasure towards things that once made you happy can all be signs of burnout.
  3. Decreased work performance – This could be a lack of productivity or even low self-confidence.

If you’ve managed to identify any of these symptoms in yourself then be kind to yourself. The first step is recognising that you need to start looking after yourself, now it’s time for you to do something about it. 

Here are some tips to help reduce teacher burnout:

  1. Before you take on more work, have a look at what work you’ve currently got on. It’s ok to let your employer know that you’ve got enough on your plate as it is.
  2. Give yourself some time to rest. Not the type of rest where you ‘rest’ but you are constantly thinking about work, some real rest. Constant breaks are vital to reducing burnout, work is not your whole life.
  3. Reach out. Whether that’s to someone at work, a friend, or even a hotline. A problem shared is a problem halved.
  4. Say no. It’s hard not helping people, but sometimes you have to put yourself before others.

If you’ve done all of the above and you still feel the same, then maybe it’s time for a change. Not necessarily something as drastic as a change of career but maybe something as simple as a change of scenery. Maybe a part-time role to help you take a step back and gain some time for yourself or even moving to a supply role so you do the bits of teaching that you enjoy without the added stress of marking or extra responsibilities.  

Supply work can give you the work-life balance you need, you can work when and where you want - giving you more time for yourself to do the things you want!

If you are interested in supply and you want to find out more, call our friendly team today.


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