In all honesty, teachers aren’t exactly the type of people that first come to mind when we think of burnout. Articles and online posts alike mostly focus on the students’ perspective, suggesting how to deal with the workload or perhaps how to balance studying with extracurriculars.
Whatever the case may be, the fact still stands that teachers are often seen as these sturdy foundations not only of education but also of resolve. But sometimes, it’s the people who seem toughest that needs the most looking after.
So if you’re an educator who’s reading this and had a particularly hard day at school, know we see right through the professional façade, and we want to help you help yourself.
Here are a few ideas to prevent teacher burnout and help you get back on your springy feet
Schedule a consistent “me time”
Creating an effective work-life balance is easier said than done. You can always mutter “never again” under your breath after you guiltily take time beyond office hours to work, but when it comes down to it, will you actually follow through?
The easiest way to segregate your personal and professional lives would be to make a concrete plan or draft a “me time” schedule – and actually stick to it. When you violate the rules of your own down time, you are giving other people permission not to take it seriously. As they say, practice what you preach!
Find a friend in another teacher
Everything becomes more tolerable when you realize that you are not alone. Talk to another teacher who might be feeling the same way. Who knows? Maybe you two can swap stories and ideas on how to deal with burnout. After all, we need as much help as we can get.
Redecorate and personalize your advisory room
Design dictates the tone of any room or building. Furthermore, it can actually affect the energy of a place. Try adjusting the lighting to a warm white tone for less eye strain. Move desks around and ask your students to tidy up rows. You may also try switching out your bulletin board for a layout with minimal elements to make it less ‘loud’. Play around with scented sprays, tabletop ornaments, and blackboard design. In the end, you’ll end up with a room that feels like you – and that’s because you actually took the time to make it your own!
Another way to separate the ‘you’ inside the classroom from the ‘you’ outside school gates is by engaging in activities that are far from your usual line of work. Hobbies provide us with an avenue to focus on new goals, self-improvement, and upskilling. But the best part is that it does not require you to be good – just interested. If you’re looking for a low-stress, low-pressure enjoyment that is also productive, then start looking into what hobbies you’ve always wanted to try out, but were scared to do so out of the fear of being bad at it.
Self-management, not time management
A common misconception with the work grind is that once you learn how to manage your time, everything else will follow. But can anyone ever really get a hold of time, more so manage it?
Time is beyond our control – but what we do have power over, is ourselves.
Many people tend to fixate on planning schedules but have yet to practice self-discipline, work conditioning, and proper work ethics. Because in the end, it’s not about how many hours you spend working on a task, it’s about how much thought and discipline you put into it.