How to Avoid Teacher Burnout
Do you sometimes feel like your classes aren’t going to plan and new ideas are few and far between? It sometimes feels like reaching burnout is inevitable. Perhaps you’ve started out at a new job, where you want to impress your students and work hard creating resources for them. Or you have been teaching for a long time and are running out of new ideas. It's completely understandable that you’ll then feel physically and mentally exhausted.
Having said that, there are so many advantages to being a teacher. It’s a fulfilling and rewarding career that inspires so many. Stay positive and start to recognise the signs of burnout, so you can avoid it in the future.
Say no to imposter syndrome
No matter how good you are, teaching in a brand new environment, with different challenges to face, will always be a daunting task to undertake. That’s why lots of teachers, new and old, sometimes feel like they are out of their depth. This is known as “imposter syndrome”, and happens more often in teaching than you think. Most teachers have to perform their classes on a regular basis, and a lot of their work is results driven, which can cause teachers to lose self-confidence. This may lead to a downward spiral of stress, negative feelings and burnout.
Start to avoid this by changing how you view yourself. Teachers develop and adapt their skills constantly, so despite what you may believe, no one is the “finished product”. Instead, take action points about what has been going well and what you want to improve on. Don’t compare yourself to others, what might work well for someone else, doesn’t necessarily mean it's best for you. Always remember to be open and honest about how you feel. Your friends and colleagues can help you feel positive again, and your students can too!
Always plan ahead
It is always good for teachers to be over-prepared. Efficiently planning and preparing your lessons on a regular basis will lead to more successful lessons, while keeping your work time outside of the classroom to a minimum. Still, not every plan will go exactly as you envisioned it, and you may need to teach off the cusp. Have a few ideas for games and activities that you could fall back on if that's the case. It’s also important to keep your material organised, store it in a folder and make notes of what worked well and what didn’t for future reference. Don’t feel like you have to be constantly planning though, keep some evenings free to spend quality time with your friends and family (more on this later).
Create a good rapport with students
Start showing your students that you are interested in their interests, and get to know them. This will help you create lesson content based on what they enjoy, and helps students stay engaged. Students are much more receptive to learning from teachers who have made a connection with them, develop your active listening skills to find out more about them. You should also limit teacher talking time, using paired and group activities will make your lessons more interactive and interesting.
Every teacher has their own strengths and weaknesses. Find out your strengths and use them to your advantage. You also want to create a safe and comfortable space for your students to be able to express themselves, especially when teaching one-on-one. Tutor House will arrange a free trial call between students and tutors, to get to know each other better before lessons begin.
Schedule time off
Create a good work-life balance, and don’t over-commit. Teachers often find themselves being requested to take on more responsibilities inside and outside of the classroom, remember you can always say no. Your colleagues and students will understand if you need a break.
Recharge your batteries by taking adequate breaks during the working day. Lots more teachers are doing online classes, which work really well for time keeping, but may mean that you are not as active as you would be in the classroom. Take some time out of your day to focus on exercise to compensate for this. Going for a walk or a run, will help reset your mind and let you come up with new ideas. You are less likely to reach burnout if you schedule time to have off fun.
And after burnout?
As we have mentioned, burnout is often inescapable. So, if you do end up feeling depleted, try taking a step back for a little while, before delving back into the deep end. Book a holiday, see friends and family or simply stay home and catch up on TV. Tutor House helps with this too, we give tutors complete control of their own schedule, so they can tutor as and when they need.