The teaching profession is an evergreen and noble career, regardless of the various educational changes that transpire over time. Good teachers are invaluable allies of students, presenting their best efforts to improve education. Moreover, they are continuously striving to work hard and prioritizing their students over every challenge. But being that ‘great teacher’ requires more than just a knack, and over time, it could burn them out. You read it right, teachers can suffer burnout.
What exactly is a teacher-burnout?
Burnout is a state of persistent stress that triggers one’s mental health, leading to exhaustion of the mind and body. As a result of the constant need for perfection, most educators fall prey to this phenomenon. Losing balance of school work and social life is the prime symptom indicating a teacher burnout. There are times when the intensity of receptive teaching can deplete a teacher’s resource and make them exhausted with cognitive emotional, physical, and psychological trauma.
What are the signs of teacher-burnout?
● Fatigue and insomnia- A constant feeling of tiredness before work and throughout the day is a classic symptom of burnout. Additionally, teachers can suffer from sleeplessness and irregular sleep-wake cycles.
● Appetite and weight issues- Decreased appetite leading to weight loss should be a matter of concern among teachers who suffer from mental stress. Some people tend to ‘stress-eat’ leading to weight gain. In either scenario, it is best to consult a doctor for professional help.
● Emotional stability and concentration power- An aura of negativity is what a stressed-out teacher may radiate. With undue stress comes emotional outbursts, and this affects the quality of teaching which in turn, affects students. Less concentration power and forgetfulness are symptoms that accompany stress.
● Depression- In long term stages of burnout, stress can intensify into anxiety and depression. Anger, sadness, fear, and guilt are some of the characteristics of burnout depression.
How does burnout affect students?
If a teacher is affected by burnout, does it really affect a student? The answer is, yes it does. With teachers inflicting a negative attitude towards students, the passion to learn and reciprocate, declines with time. The urge to ask questions or doubts could be seen as a challenge to students when they encounter a hostile teacher. Dealing with a stressful environment in classrooms, students can mimic the actions and emotions of a teacher, hence reflecting a negative attitude towards everyone.
What are the remedies for a teacher burnout?
To keep away from being a victim of burnout, teachers should find a balance of their work and social life as the most important aspect. A combination of self-care factors, suggestions, and tips to strengthen the passion for work can help teachers combat the burnout. Here are a few ways to tackle your stress:
● Give yourself ‘Me-Time’.
As much as your work is important, so is your mind. Find time to enjoy your hobbies and put away work for a few hours of the day. Bake that cake, listen to those long-lost songs, binge-watch your favourite TV show, play with your children, catch up with friends, or even go on a drive! Mind you, this is not a choice, this is essential.
● Walk, run, or jump!
Your body is a temple and so, you need to take care of your health. A healthy body houses a healthy mind. Find a few minutes of your schedule to take a walk, jog around your neighbourhood, or do some in-house workouts.
● Go easy on yourself, please!
Perfection is not everyone’s cup of tea, but practice can get you there one day. Stop stressing over excellence in everything you wish to do, instead, cut yourself some slack. Relax and do it step by step. You’ll see the difference.
● Inhale, exhale
Before starting your day, adopt the practice of meditation. Not only does it help you destress, but cleanse your mind too.
● Befriend a good timetable
Timetables aren’t just for students, but for teachers too. Stick to a comfortable schedule and plan your day ahead to avoid cramming work.
● Connect with family and friends
How exciting is it to see your loved one’s face at the end of a tiring day? Grab that phone and make sure you spend some quality time with your close ones.
● Plan activities with your co-workers
When you need help, these are your go-to people at work. Keep those bonds strong by planning a day of fun and interactive activities outside work.
● Celebrate yourself!
That’s right, celebrate your tiny victories. Appreciate yourself for the small accomplishments you gain as a teacher. When you feel down, just remember how much you’re worth.
While being a part of the workaholic cult, teachers in the present world should remind themselves that they are more than just people who educate students. Rather, it should be understood that they are individuals who deserve a tranquil state of mind too.
Teacher burnouts are situations that can happen to any educator at any point in their teaching career. By focusing on the bigger picture through smaller tasks, teachers can avoid burnouts and keep their passion burning bright.