August is upon us and its time to come in from those summer adventures and get back to planning out your new school year. For many educators, this is a time of rejuvenation and excitement. We come in from a great summer vacation ready to get back to work, genuinely missing our students. Sadly, this can be short lived for many teachers. As the hardships of the position set in, the burnout starts to build.
From the moment you get back to your school, you are inundated with tasks, meetings, trainings, emails, documents to read, new curriculum to plan for, and so on, and so on, and so on…The overwhelming sensations start to set in and then out of nowhere, it’s the first day of school. You still have enthusiasm but know the amount of work waiting for you to complete. Students are now your primary concern, and a host of issues start to come at you, seemingly all at once. All you can now think about is Fall break.
No educator wishes for this. We don’t want to be overwhelmed in our roles. We don’t want to have stressful feelings and premature fatigue day in and day out. We want to enjoy coming into our schools every day and serving our students to the best of our ability. The fact is, so many things get in the way of teaching. We wouldn’t have the attrition problem plaguing our nation if teachers could simply come into their schools and teach. We take on a lot as educators and we are often asked upon for than we are compensated. With all of this, it is easy to get discouraged and burnout early in the year.
A few points of motivation and encouragement:
Change is happening – Trust and know that things are changing. You are being heard! The pandemic and its challenges have shed light to the public about the trials of teaching. Districts and legislators are making changes as they see their workforce leaving, taking notice to combat the many problems teachers are facing. Our communities can’t afford teacher shortages. Policy changes, financial reallocations, and incentives have been coming into the fold, offering relief in many situations across the nation. Change is coming, sooner or later. Hang on!
Know your “why?” – This phrase has been turning into a cliché as you hear it constantly in your PD trainings. But think about it. Do you know your why? Why are you an educator? Why do you work with our youth? You have to get back to your “why” to overcome your own negative feelings when things get tough at your school. Much is out of our control, and it shouldn’t affect your attitude or motivation toward your profession. I understand that this is a tough statement to read given the many difficult situations you have experienced, but it is at heart of why you do what you do. Find your “why,” post it somewhere, read it daily, and live it.
Don’t teach in isolation – This role is hard enough as it is, so don’t make it harder by isolating yourself from those that can help you grow, build you up, make your day easier, or simply lending a sympathetic ear. Reach out to your colleagues and collaborate with one another on your practice. Give each other feedback, enjoy lunch together, and have some fun with your team.
While there are many more suggestions that can be added to this blog, these are just a few points to consider as you start the year. Take them to heart and seek more so you can maintain your momentum as you start this fall. The first rough day you have, think about your “why”, the changes that are happening, and connect with your team. You will be sure to block the burnout, boosting yourself to a fantastic year in your career.