Teachers Helping Teachers: 8 Ways to Prevent Burnout
You are familiar with the sensation. It occurs when you observe other people out on walks during their lunch hour when you have just spent the previous ten minutes “eating” while emailing a parent who engages in passive-aggressive behaviour. Or when you’re told that you should try out this brand-new instructional method, despite the fact that you’ve been using the same one for years. Or when you’re sick and have to crawl to the computer to create your substitute lesson plans because you were up all night. You find yourself asking, “How much longer am I able to do this?”
It is common knowledge that maintaining order in the classroom has become progressively more challenging. We are continuously being pressured to accomplish more with less resources. In addition, there is no indication that the mounting pressure that we are under as a result of standardised testing, the presence of parents and administrators, difficult negotiation sessions, the present atmosphere of hostility against teachers, and top-down leadership will ever abate.
It is imperative that educators band together in order to provide mutual assistance and make teaching a more financially viable profession. There are a number of things that we are capable of doing for one another as well as for ourselves.
1. Be there for your teachers when they are in trouble. When one of your employees is going through a challenging moment, it can be very meaningful for his or her coworkers to give him or her a thoughtful gift. At the beginning of the year, one has the option of establishing a fund. Each member of the staff is allowed to bring in $20. (or what they can). It is possible for one individual to be in charge of this sum and choose suitable tokens of support or presents whenever they are required. We refer to it as the Sunshine Fund at my school, and via it, we have sent gift baskets to folks who were recovering from surgery, funds for transportation to someone whose family member was gravely injured and hospitalised, and meals to new mothers. This is an important way for everyone to encourage one another, and it also helps to develop community and boost morale.
2. Create a strategy to achieve a better work-life balance. By organising a few events that promote wellbeing, a select group of instructors at the school can help to improve both the climate and the community at the institution. This may take the form of a monthly get-together, a weekly treat session in the staff room, a weekly running or walking club, or any number of other thought-provoking possibilities. Additionally, once per week yoga sessions could be paid for using wellness money. We need to support one another and encourage participation in extracurricular activities outside of the classroom.
3. Provide Backup. Have a talk with a parent who’s been giving you trouble? Make it a point to bring a reliable coworker with you. Is one of your coworkers having a challenging day? Assume responsibility for them throughout their break. These acts of kindness demonstrate the power of community, solidarity, and generosity.
4. Offer Assistance to New Mothers When they go back to work, sleep-deprived new mothers who are breastfeeding their babies confront a number of obstacles. They need your help to find a safe area for them to pump their milk, and you need to work with the staff to find a way to cover their shifts so that they may continue to work and feed their baby breast milk. Creating an atmosphere that is welcoming to families and supportive of breastfeeding can be difficult in schools that are constrained in terms of both space and time, but doing so is absolutely necessary.
5. Look for opportunities to take on leadership roles. There is not a well-defined path to advancement in teaching. The position of principal is one that many educators would rather avoid, yet they are interested in pursuing other professionally rewarding tasks instead. Find ways to broaden and deepen your professional experience by participating in activities such as mentoring, coaching, college teaching, or writing, for example.
6. You Could Benefit from Making a Change. When you feel like leaving your job, it’s possible that you’re actually just ready to teach a different topic, grade level, or perhaps at a different institution altogether. A colleague of mine who taught fifth and sixth grade for ten years before switching to kindergarten provided me the motivation to pursue a career in education. Changing your position or moving to a different school could provide you with a better fit and be an effective approach to revitalise your teaching.
7. Form a cohesive unit. It is possible for teachers to collaborate, and they should do so, in order to further the goals of both public education and teaching. We are able to gather together and take action on important topics including the environmental health of a school, the leadership, endorsing (or not endorsing) members of the school board, and taking stances on particular policy decisions. Becoming a member of your community’s labour union and getting personally involved in activities that benefit public schools and education can both lead to increased agency and participation.
8. Create a Positive, Supportive Climate. The last thing that educators need is to have a greater sense of isolation. Teachers frequently need to work together to solve problems, celebrate their victories, and share their best practises. This should be done on a consistent basis, according to a plan, and during the school day. It is necessary to occasionally remind administrators of this fact. Take immediate action to address the situation if the climate deteriorates for whatever reason, so that individuals are not harmed or deprived of their rights. This could be accomplished through conversations held during staff meetings or by the collective reading of a book like “Difficult Conversations” written by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen, and Roger Fisher. Both of these options are viable.
These are just a few suggestions that can assist educators in remaining optimistic, empowering themselves, and connected to the communities that surround their schools. Teaching is a difficult profession in general, but it is particularly trying in the current climate, when there are a growing number of obstacles to overcome in public schools, and it does not appear that this will change in the near future. Teachers can support each other to make each day a little brighter. And that’s a start.