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Teacher Burnout – It’s a Real Thing

There’s such a thing as too much life.

As teachers, we are often yanked and pulled in many different directions. These days, it is very rare to find a teacher who just teaches his or her classes and goes home. I mean, I guess they exist but they’re kind of like unicorns.

Most teachers teach their classes and then they also sponsor a club or coach a sport. They stay late after school to grade or come in early to tutor. Some teachers plan field trips or act as a mentor to first-year teachers. And then there are the teachers that you always see lugging work home on a Friday afternoon, no matter how many times you’ve heard them say “this is going to be the year that I don’t do work on the weekends!” Ha. Yeah, right.

When I first started teaching, I said ‘yes’ to everything that came across my desk. Yes, I’ll lead a book club. Yes, I can certainly do a service club. Sure, I’d be happy to help with after-school. Of course I can run the clock at a basketball game (side note – never do that). I had this misguided belief that saying ‘yes’ to things equaled job security. And, while I definitely ingratiated myself with my administration, it had no bearing on whether or not I would be hired again the next year.

Instead, all I succeeded in doing was running myself ragged. Since then, I’ve learned to balance my time better. I gave up advising the yearbook when I started to focus on the Beta Club. I say ‘no’ to things that I know I cannot handle.

I’ve learned to say ‘no’!!

If I could give advice to any new teacher, it would be to learn how to say ‘no.’ Now, I don’t recommend saying ‘no’ to every single thing. You can often bond with your students, have fun at Beta Club field trips, and get a lot more out of your job if you do things beyond the four walls of your classroom.

Just don’t do too much.

Pace yourself. Limit yourself. Enjoy yourself.

Next week, I’m going to focus on some ways to enjoy your life while still being a fully committed teacher. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what your opinions are on making sure you don’t burnout as a teacher! Leave me a comment!