Teaching can be an enormously rewarding profession, but no one shows you how to prevent teacher burnout. Many teachers even view their careers as more of a calling or vocation. It’s a sense of purpose.
But teaching in a school can also be extraordinarily difficult and stressful. It’s a tough job, and it can be isolating too.
To prevent teacher burnout and preserve a passion for their work, it is crucial for teachers to find support from multiple sources. Today let’s talk about three basic forms of support that every teacher needs to thrive.
Who are the people at your job that you can turn to?
Which fellow teachers do you talk to when you need help troubleshooting a classroom issue, a difficult or struggling student, or a sticky parental situation?
Maybe they’re the individuals who you can call on for help when you need to leave in an emergency or wake up sick.
Sometimes your best support at work is just someone to vent to who’s right there in the trenches with you. They’ll know the background and dynamics of the situation and understand exactly what you’re going through.
These trusted teachers can help you prevent teacher burnout from happening to you because they have experience surviving in this career. You may be friendly outside of work with these individuals, or you may not be.
They’re the teachers who provide the day-to-day support we all need to successfully navigate the ups and downs of our chosen profession.
Our fellow teachers are generally wonderful people, and they can be a lot of fun to spend time with, but sometimes we all need to get away.
We need friends who are entirely unassociated with our work.
Maybe this person or group is one that you go for pedicures with; maybe it’s your first-Friday-of-the-month-night-out-group. Or maybe it’s another working parent that you talk to on Saturday afternoons while your kids play at the park.
Whatever it looks like for you, find people that you can talk to about things that are not school-related. Teaching is an important component of our lives, but it should not be our entire life. Remember that it’s healthy to regularly set your job down and maintain a life outside of the classroom.
Work support and outside-of-work friends play a very important role in our support structures, but we all still go home at night.
Who is it that we turn to then—at night when we need a shoulder to cry on or in the morning to talk things through over coffee before heading in to work? The one to tell you to quit obsessing for just a little while and come watch a movie, and even that person to make sure you get a decent meal in the middle of end-of-term paper-grading madness?
For some of us, this person is a spouse or a partner. Or they might be a sibling, a parent, or even a really close roommate. If you live alone, maybe it’s a friend or close family member who checks in on you regularly. A loyal cat or dog who’s happy to greet you at the door can be a help too.
No matter who it is, having a support person at home, one who knows and believes in you and supports you and your path as a teacher, can make a big difference.
Remember, no one is an island, nor should we try to be. Quality support is something that we all need to cultivate in order to prevent teacher burnout.
This support not only makes you a better and more effective teacher, but it also makes your life and your mental health better. Who provides you support in each of these categories? If you can’t say, consider figuring it out as your next professional improvement project. It will be so worthwhile.
Check back next week to read about how to make use of these teacher support systems to help prevent teacher burnout. And remember — in addition to having a support system, taking care of yourself is essential. Follow any of the links below to learn more about how you can work self-care into your routine, as well as more support system suggestions.
Additional Self-Care Resources
- Teacher Self-Care Challenge
- Strategies To Avoid Teacher Burnout
- Tips for Avoiding Teacher Burnout
- Teacher Self-Care Tips
- Teacher Mental Health Strategies
- How To Make Use of Teacher Support Systems
- Setting Boundaries By Saying No