Typically this time of the year is when we start to feel it.. “Burn-Out SEASON” I have been blessed this past year to work hourly… and even so I feel it this time of the year. I do not know if it is the great weather that we start to feel in the FALL- we would prefer being outside? Or if it is all the long hours and hard work that just catches up with us? Countless hours are spent outside of teaching [planning, grading, conferences, meetings, IEP meeting, ARIP meetings, SPED meeting, liaison meetings, meetings, meetings, oh did I mention meetings?]. Who knows, but I do know that we start to feel the burn- out, the desire to just give up! Most teachers have a life outside of the classroom, most of us help manage a household. We are supermoms, super-dads, super-grandparents, super-aunts, super-people! We try to do everything, and be the best at everything, and it just catches up. It gets to the point that this is the time of the year that substitutes phones are ringing off the hook! Yup, either our immune systems get sick or we just need those MENTAL HEALTH DAYS! Right? Who is with me?
Just last week this was a conversation I had with a close teacher friend of mine.
[The name is changed to keep the anonymity].
Me: Hey girl, how is it going? How is work? Are you feeling better?Chantel: Hey girl, it’s going… I am just exhausted. Ugh, I need a break
Me: Girl, is it work? Are you happy at your new job?
Chantel: No, girl. I love my school, and my team. It is just the whole thing. I cannot even start explaining. I am having the toughest class this year. I get to school every morning at 6:30am and leave every day at 6:45ish. By the time I get home I eat junk and just want to hop to bed. It is getting bad. I am so moody.
Me: Girlie, what can I do to help? You need to just leave, do not worry if you do not finish what you are working on, just leave. Can you do that?
Chantel: I wish, I try but we sometimes have after school meetings, and I have so many kids that need modified work, or I am responding to emails, grading, prepping. If I do not catch up I get so behind and it is just hard. I wish I could TEACH! Teaching is fun, it is all the extra!
Me: Girl, I understand, you truly need to remember: THIS IS A JOB, THIS IS NOT YOUR LIFE! You will stop loving it, if you keep doing this.
This is such a common conversation I have with so many teacher friends. So what can we do to help? How can this change? I will tell you, the paperwork, meetings, the grading will not go away. So you need to come up with a system. You need to change your mindset. You need to remember- this is a JOB! As much as you lobe teaching, it cannot consume you. You will BURN OUT. You need to take time for yourself. Here are a few easy tips I used that might help you…
1. NOT everything needs to be Graded. Yes, you can stamp it, place a sticker, and send
home. But it is ok to NOT grade every single thing! Make that a GOAL!
2. Plan early in the week for the next week. Start planning on Tuesday so it gives you a
few minutes each day to start copying and prepping for the next week. I would use the first
10 minutes of my planning each day to start prepping for the next week. So on Friday I had
everything set aside for the next week and all I had to do was write it out.
3.Use your time Wisely at work. I arrived 45 minutes before my students arrived. I would
answer emails, file papers. And organize. During my planning, I met with team, called
parents, met with admin if needed.
4.LEAVE everyday at a set time! If it is not complete, leave it! It will get done tomorrow!
5.REMEMBER to never compare yourself to anyone else! YOU are YOU, and YOU rock.
And… it ok to take a day off to RECOUP! It is called a MENTAL HEALTH DAY! Do not
forget to do that!
REMEMBER this is a job, yes you LOVE it and want to be the Best. But you can only be the best when you feel your best and take care of yourself. You are amazing, teaching is hard! Thank you for your hardwork! I wanted to leave you with a FEW fun Posters to HELP YOU! You can display them! The ultimate thing is just enjoy being a teacher and if you ever need anything, reach out for help, I am here, and many more of us! We are going through it, too and sometimes we just need a BIG shoulder!