October 3, 2011
Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
It’s not easy being a teacher. And there will always be some bad days. But how do you know when it reaches the point of burnout?
Here are the top ten symptoms of teacher burnout. If more than a couple apply to you, you might want to talk to someone about ways to overcome burnout and regain your love of teaching.
10. Loss of excitement
Remember when you first started teaching? How excited you were about making a difference in the lives of your students?
If it’s hard to remember, or if it seems like that excitement is something that exists only in the past, teacher burnout might be the culprit.
Do you find yourself snapping at colleagues or students? Everyone is impatient sometimes, but constant or increasing impatience may be a sign of stress and burnout.
Does it feel like your alarm rings only seconds after you fall asleep? Do you wake up still tired morning after morning? Is it hard to stay awake by the end of the workday?
If you’re getting enough sleep, and your health is good, the cause of your fatigue could be emotional exhaustion, stress or teacher burnout.
7. Avoiding student interaction
You used to love talking with your students. You even volunteered to lead after school groups or clubs.
But now you can’t find the energy to talk to them at all. As soon as class is over, you hide in the teacher lounge, or shut your door to “do some work.”
When what used to be great about teaching becomes a burden, you could be heading into burnout.
6. Using the same old lesson plans over and over
You used to love coming up with new and exciting lesson plans. That was half the fun of being a teacher.
Now it all seems like too much work. You see that your students are bored but you just can’t seem to care enough to do anything about it.
As with any profession, loosing interest in doing your job well is a classic sign of burnout.
5. More bad days than good days
When was the last time you had a great day at work? How about a good one?
And when was the last bad day at work? If you can’t remember the good ones, but can count off lots of bad ones, it might be the burnout coloring your experience.
4. Dread going to work
The alarm goes off, but you hit snooze. You wander around the house doing random tasks to avoid heading out the door to work. And when a slight sniffle strikes, you gratefully call in sick.
Does this sound familiar? People experiencing job burnout often dread heading into work each day.
3. Counting hours until workday ends
You arrive at school at 8, and immediately look at the clock, calculating the number of hours until the final bell rings. As each class period passes, you count off the remaining hours until the day ends.
And when the final bell rings, you’re the first out the door.
Burnout can make every hour at work stretch into what feels like days.
2. Feeling unappreciated
It seems that no matter how hard you work, no one cares. Your students are ungrateful, and the adminstration is only interested in cutting the budget. No one notices all the good things you do, or how many extra hours you put in.
Burnout makes it hard to see any appreciation for being a teacher, even if it’s there.
1. Spilling over to home life
Once burnout becomes severe, the effects begin to spill over into your home life.
At this point, not being at work isn’t enough relief. You find yourself getting annoyed with your spouse, children or friends, even over minor matters.
Teacher burnout is very real. If the symptoms on this list ring true, it’s time to do something about it. Talk to a doctor or counselor, or even a trusted friend. Look into taking a leave of absence, or maybe just a change of schools.