Stress Reduction Strategies – How Teachers Can Deal with Burnout

by Ella Wilson
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Teaching is not an easy profession. It requires complete attention of the teacher and with advent of technology in educational world, teaching has become a full-time job. According to recent research conducted by IAO, teachers are at a greater risk of mental health issues as compared to professionals in any other field. Stress or teacher burnout tops the list of mental health issues. This could be attributed to workload and continuous socializing with colleagues, parents, and students. Simply put, teachers don’t get time to breathe.

The same research by IAO showed that the majority of the new teachers are leaving the field within their first five years and that more teachers are burning out. The reason could be student behavior, low pay, or workload. Whatever the reason, the staggering rates of teachers backing out of the field are worrisome.

To enhance student learning, it is extremely important to keep the class environment healthy and wholesome. The environment of a classroom is highly impacted by the teacher and if the teacher is under stress, it is going to impact the students as well. A bad environment results in low-class engagement which in turn results in poor class grades and overall student performance.

Keeping student performance aside, the mental health of a teacher is of extreme importance. Teaching is an exhausting profession, and teachers may want to pay special attention to their health. Here are a few things teachers can do to prevent burnout;

  • Ask for Help

Know your expertise and don’t try to do everything yourself. Many teachers shy away from asking for help and end up burdening themselves. Don’t hesitate from asking for help from those who are offering. If you know that something is not in your wheelhouse, don’t waste time tiring yourself out instead ask someone to assist you.

  • Keep it Exciting

One of the major outcomes of teacher burnout is a loss of interest. Teachers who are dealing with stress often lose interest in the field which results in them backing off entirely. Any professional who burns out at work loses interest in things that they once used to be passionate about. To prevent burning out at work, add new and exciting things to your daily class activities to remind you about your passion for teaching. Keep yourself immersed in fun parts of teaching rather than crumbling under the pressure of negative side.

  • Continuous Learning

One of the main reasons why more teachers are burning out recently is development in educational sector. Internet brought many changes with it that traditional teachers are not aware about. They are struggling to keep up with those trends that are a huge part of modern educational system. This struggle causes the teachers to burn out.

To prevent a burnout, teachers may want to consider professional development programs and internships that would help them stay in the loop with recent trends. By continuously learning, teachers can prevent themselves from additional stress.

  • Work Smarter, Not Harder

Many teachers steer clear of technology and spend hours doing things manually when they have an option to make everyday tasks simpler. Instead of tiring yourself out, embrace technology and use it to make boring tasks simpler and easy. There are many applications and software that can assist you in checking assignments, attendance, and boosting overall class productivity. To reduce stress, ensure that you are working smarter and not harder.

  • Don’t take Work home

As mentioned earlier, teaching has turned into a full-time job. It has become common for teachers to take their work home. Experts recommend that this practice is one of the major reasons behind teacher burnout. Teachers are advised to complete their work within institute premises. Avoid taking extra work home with you as it only messes up with your personal time and mental health.

  • Make Time for Yourself

While focusing on your work, don’t forget that you need some time to breathe as well. Don’t overwork yourself to the point where you can’t make time for yourself. It is highly recommended for teachers to take small breaks at work to release negative energy. Making time to follow passions apart from teaching can be extremely fruitful for mental health. Not every fun activity is supposed to be productive, therefore teachers may want to indulge in entertaining activities that are not tiring for the brain.

  • Stay Active

The symptoms of burnout are mostly physical. From headache, body ache, dizziness, to low moods, all these symptoms point towards a bad burnout. Physical health is highly correlated with mental health. Doctors recommend that working out regularly is not only beneficial for the body, but has positive impacts on mental health as well. Teachers are recommended to remain active and workout in order to keep their mental health in check.

  • Allow Yourself to Make Mistakes

Even those teachers who do all the things mentioned above can burn out at work. A healthy teacher can suffer from mental stress because they set unrealistic expectations for themselves. To prevent burning out, teachers may want to work moderately and allow themselves to make mistakes. Don’t set expectations that you won’t be able to achieve, it would only make you more stressed, feel worthless, and have a bad impact on work outcome. Instead set achievable goals on a daily basis.

It can be challenging for modern educators to teach according to the latest trends. But, in their efforts to manage a modern class, teachers shouldn’t overlook their personal health. Teachers should know that managing a healthy work-life balance is extremely important not only for them but also to enhance class learning.

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