Let’s face it: Teacher burnout happens. Stay focused, fresh, and energized with these tips and strategies:
- Recognize the accomplishments and successes of other teachers. If you’re feeling unappreciated, they probably are, too. And remember: What goes around, comes around.
- Let students have input into classroom rules. This encourages buy-in, so they’re more likely to follow them. And you’re all more likely to enjoy your time in the classroom.
- Deflect peer bullying. If a teacher or an administrator unfairly criticizes or bullies you, use the same anti-bullying techniques you’d suggest to kids. Contact your union rep if needed.
- Make it a revolving student’s responsibility to write the next day’s schedule on the board. Students will enjoy the responsibility, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
- If you have to deliver hard-to-hear news to a parent, such as a failing student or a discipline problem, invite a colleague to sit in the meeting with you. This will help inhibit unpredictable behavior by the parent.
- Keep a daily record of students’ accomplishments, large and small. This will help refocus your attention on the things that are going right in your classroom.
- Find a mentor. There’s always a colleague who knows more, who’s been at the school longer, or who simply has great ideas. A mentor can help you plan lessons, problem solve, and stay positive.
- Let students choose their own writing topics. Nothing spells “burnout” more than 32 papers on the same subject.
- Try a flipped classroom. The benefits can be widespread and powerful, but some big ones are more engaged students, more personalized learning, and more one-on-one time with kids.
- Do peer observations. Ask if you can observe a colleague you admire; ask if a colleague will observe you, too. Both can help you learn to be a better teacher and keep things fresh.
- If you know of a student who has given up or seems without hope, gradually build a relationship with him or her. Say hi every day, ask how the student is doing, and find ways to be an ally. It will remind you of why you became a teacher.
- With other teachers, plan a weekly walking, running, or biking group. Or host a book club, roundtable idea exchange, coffee klatch, or happy hour. Socializing with other teachers helps keep perspective.
- Resolve not to be cynical! Break habits like compulsive knee-jerk administration criticizing and snarky-joke-making. Smile more. Say something nice to a cranky colleague or student.
For more tips and strategies to stoke your passion for teaching, check out Tips to Avoid Teacher Burnout In a Jar®: Helping You Stay Focused, Fresh & Happy at Work.
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