Beware of Burnout

Photo by Yan on

Last fall, pre-pandemic, I wrote a blog post asking why I come home so tired after a day of teaching. I was hoping to get some answers from other teachers to avoid burnout. Of course, I need to figure out a better way to build an online audience and engage everyone in discussing ideas. That, however, can be a topic of another day.

Fast forward 11 months, and the teaching profession faces a far-more critical crisis. We are in danger of collectively burning out within the first months of the new academic year. Labor Day weekend, for example, I read a friend’s social media post. She awoke at 4:00 a.m. resigned to spending her holiday weekend grading papers, creating video content for the upcoming week, and recording personalized feedback for her IB students. I applaud the dedication, but I worry about her emotional and physical well-being.

“Remember to take care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup.” —Unknown

Teaching is a noble profession, but why are willingly sacrifice our personal lives for it?

We need to reclaim our lives. The first step is to take all weekends off. Completely. Do things that make you happy. Blogging, for example is a hobby that I have sacrificed for my job. I am finding renewed energy when I write.

I have had some good Me Time so far this weekend. I woke up early and took a quiet walk through the neighborhood. I sat on my porch and read while waiting for today’s sunrise. I will enjoy this weekend, and I will not allow myself to feel guilty for leaving my lesson planning and grading at school.

We are in the education for the students, but we are also creating bad working conditions for ourselves. Resentment creeps deeper into teacher conversations. Colleagues are stressed out, and I worry about what will happen when they break. We will not be available for our students if we continue in this dangerous direction. It needs to stop. 

How we can collectively look out for one another? How are you avoiding burnout? How do you balance your teacher life and your personal life? Post your comments. I want to hear from you.

Check out some of my poetry about similar topics: Frayed and Fatigued, Receptacle, House cleaning.