The first year of teaching is a huge adjustment. I remember 12 Hour Days with excessive amounts of work to complete. I had a hard time keeping my head above water. By the second year, I was making changes to help manage my schedule-– I knew what I needed to do, I could spot problem behaviors, issues, etc. Teacher Burnout comes around fast unless you start loving what you do. Follow these tips to keep you and the rest of your teaching team from feeling drained!
1) Be Organized
Prepare, collect, construct and set-up the classroom at the end of each day so that it is ready for children the next morning. This way when you arrive at school you have time relax, and welcome children and families to the new day. (Checklist, planners, notes).
2) Collaborate with Others/ Mentors
Often times there are veteran teachers in your buildings or a team of teachers that will share and collaborate on ideas that work well. Befriend these people and share and “steal”. When you share ideas everyone wins, and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
3) Observe and Self Reflect
Take time to observe other classrooms and teaching styles. Look at classroom set up, daily schedules and routines, transitions, procedures, curriculum, bulletin boards, notes home etc. Teachers want to share. Then invite teachers into your classroom. Show off the wonderful ideas you have too. Take notes and pictures and challenge yourself to implement or change one thing you saw that you liked.
4) Try Something New
Here is the challenge, try something new like a center, a new curriculum, song or transition. Research, attend workshops, observe and follow other professional Pinterest boards and social media. Make a goal for yourself to try something new and exciting/engaging each week. This can spark a new excitement!
Learn More about Planning and Implementing Effective Centers!
5) Get To Know your Families
Family Engagement is a vital to your success in teaching. When you build strong family communication and reciprocal relationships that are trusting, compassionate and caring, you and your students win!
These relationships can make your job so much easier and less stressful. When families respect and trust you because you have taken time to get to know them, you will be happier and more successful.
6) Love your Administration and the People you work with
I have always said that finding a job and interviewing is like a marriage. When you find the right fit, with the right people, you are the happiest. You either love going to teach or you dread getting out of bed.
Make sure you believe in what your school philosophy, atmosphere and teachers do and say. When you love the people you work with and respect what they do and what they stand for you are happier.
7) Find Your Style
What works for others does not necessarily work for you. A very strict and rigid teacher down the hall may look like she has it all together but your organized chaos is what works well in your room for your children. Outside of the classroom, do you like to work on a Saturday morning? Do you want to take work home at night? Figure out works in your life and your schedule and do what is best for you and your classroom community.
8) Don’t Do Everything at Once
No matter if it is your first year or 10th year, you can’t do everything at once, or change your entire classroom at one time. This is gradual and should be. The children in your community already have expectations they follow, schedules they know and they are used to the way it is. Change slowly, don’t stress yourself out. You will eventually get there.
9) Build A Community
Building a community of learners, where each person has a responsibility to make sure the community runs smoothly allows all learners to contribute and feel valued. When children feel like they matter and are needed, they will try harder, they will want to please and not let others down. They learn to take responsibility for their actions and make positive choices.
If I could think of one thing I would change from all the years I taught, it would be to get to know my students better. I thought I did this, and I individually talked and discussed with each student every single day, but I don’t think you can ever do it enough.
As you decide what helps you prevent Teacher Burnout, take a moment to decide what it was that inspired you to teach. Start there. Then go to the list and decide what will work best to find that spark again. I challenge you to do something different! How can you make your classroom better? How will you engage families and show them they are a valued part of your classroom community? 1,2,3 GO!
This guest post was written by Tisha Shipley. Tisha has a doctorate of education in Curriculum and Instruction and has taught multiple grade levels at Moore Public Schools, including pre–K and gifted 3rd–6th graders.
You can find Tisha online in these places: