You know what it feels like. A class period ends, you stare at the clock. You cannot believe it is not the end of the day. Or it is the end of the day, and it suddenly occurs to you that it is not Friday, but only Wednesday or Thursday. No matter the grade, every teacher has experienced this feeling at some point in their career. It is quite likely you experience these feelings as a homeschooling parent as well. Burnout sets in and the motivation you once had for teaching is nearly gone.
Fortunately, there are strategies that can be used to prevent teacher burnout. The more you can do to prevent the burnout, the more motivated you will remain throughout each school day. Hopefully, leading to less burnout throughout the school year.
Use your personal or mental health days
You must prepare ahead of time for your mental health day and plan relevant lessons for your substitute. Many teachers feel taking a day off will lead to more work when returning, and sometimes that can be true, but for mental health or personal days, it is different. It is a planned day off, so plan for it ahead of time. Prepare something for the sub that is connected to your content, but will not cause you more work when you return the next day.
Take control of your day as much as possible
One of the biggest complaints teachers have during a school day: There is not enough planning time, free periods, or breaks. If this is the case, use the class periods you teach and create your own “break” time. This absolutely does not mean you stop teaching or presenting quality lessons to the students, but it does mean you plan some “down” time at the end of each class period to help you (and your students) transition to the next.
For example, at the end of a class period, do not spend the last five minutes in a rush trying to squeeze in a new concept or even to review a concept. Do not try to hurry through the last three problems of homework or a review page. Stop when there are a few minutes left. The frenzy accompanied with this tactic leads to stress
Too many teachers try to squeeze things in just to say they completed something. Well, you may have squeezed it in, but do you really think the students were listening and everyone “got it”? It’s doubtful. Stop a few minutes early and give yourself a mini three-minute mental health break. The students could use it as well.
Accept opportunities presented for in-service days
Use the in-service days to refresh your teaching methods and to learn new classroom strategies, but also use these days as a break from the fast-paced day in the classroom. Meet other teachers, relax and enjoy the day, and maybe experience a full 30-minute or 1-hour lunch.
However, do not use the time to vent and complain about the things you may not like at your school. Everyone you meet can share some of the same horror stories, and yes, it may feel good to vent, but it often leads to additional stress. Nevertheless, you could discuss strategies and ideas to help make things better at your school.
Ask for help
Your peers are most likely the first in line willing to give you a helping hand. Take the advice you probably give to your own students: Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.
Nearly every teacher will need help at some time during their career, and therefore every teacher can be a critical source of help for you.
Finally, if you find yourself needing lesson plans or educational content, please reach out! Learn Bright has a wide variety of lessons in every subject. They are organized and ready to use. Visit our website or YouTube channel today!