8 Ways To Avoid Teacher Burnout

Teaching has never been an easy job, but there are some specific factors causing teacher burnout to rapidly increase. Even before the pandemic sent the education system into upheaval, things like budget cuts, staff shortages, and changing policies had teachers considering leaving the profession at high rates. In fact, 44% of K-12 workers say they “always” or “very often” feel burned out at work. This is the highest burnout levelacross all industries. 

Avoiding teacher burnout is no easy task. If you’re looking for more sustainable and systemic solutions to prevent teacher burnout, check out these eight strategies. 

How to Prevent Teacher Burnout

1. Leverage time management tools

Time is a precious resource, and technology can be your friend. You can reclaim control over your schedule by harnessing the power of time management tools. Applications like Trello, Google Calendar, or Asana can streamline tasks, prioritize responsibilities, and allocate time efficiently, offering a sense of accomplishment and reducing stress.

2. Set boundaries 

We know teachers always want to do a great job and help their students. But sometimes, the boundaries between personal and professional life can blur, and avoiding teacher burnout becomes challenging. Establishing clear boundaries, both physical and emotional, is key. Whether it’s delineating work hours, disconnecting from emails after a certain time, or designating ‘me-time’ for rejuvenation, boundaries safeguard well-being and can help sustain your passion for teaching. 

3. Explore alternative education models

Many of the burnout problems teachers face come from systemic issues like school structure, lack of resources, or strict regulations. Alternative education models are often founded based on fixing one of these problems and are set up differently to help teachers and students thrive. At Fusion, we prioritize one-on-one education to help students get a customized educational experience. This fosters creativity, flexibility, and student-centered pedagogy, alleviating the burden on educators while reigniting their passion for teaching.

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4. Reduce work-load with a flexible schedule

While this may not be possible at a school with a strict schedule (another reason to find an alternative education model), finding a teaching role with a flexible schedule can really help you reduce your workload and avoid burnout. Embracing a flexible schedule empowers educators to balance work and personal commitments effectively. Whether it’s telecommuting, job-sharing, or having flexible hours, these arrangements can foster autonomy and optimize productivity, relieving burnout and enhancing overall well-being.

5. Build your community of educators 

Teaching can feel isolating when you’re managing a class (or many) by yourself. However creating bonds with fellow educators can provide invaluable support. Cultivating a community of like-minded professionals offers a platform for collaboration, shared experiences, and emotional support. Finding a community of teachers was one of the biggest perks for Laura Bertacchini when she joined Fusion. Teaching networks provide a sounding board for ideas, a source of empathy, and a support system like no other.

6. Find a teaching mentor

Beyond a community, finding a mentor can be a career- (and life-) changing experience. A mentor can provide invaluable guidance, wisdom, and support in navigating the nuances of pedagogy and professional challenges. Check with your school to see if there’s already a network of mentors set up and get involved. At Fusion, we make sure all of our teachers have access to professional development that includes a mentorship program. It’s all about empowering educators to hone their craft, cultivate resilience, and feel supported.

7. Set professional goals

Goal setting can be a great tool to help manage stress. It focuses your priorities, gives you clear steps for achieving what you want, and productively channels your energy. Whether it’s mastering a new teaching methodology, pursuing advanced certifications, or spearheading educational initiatives, setting goals fuels passion and resilience and focuses your attention on what matters most to you.

8. Don’t be afraid to change your job

Sometimes it’s time to walk away. The tricky thing about burnout is that during stressful times, we tend to cling to what is familiar. But when what’s familiar is harming your health, sometimes the best thing to do is pursue change. Don’t be afraid to consider a change. Reassess your career trajectory, explore new opportunities, and even consider pivoting to alternative roles within education. Finding a new way of teaching might just be the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself — and your career. 

When you’re burned out, you’re not the best teacher you can be. Managing stress and ultimately making a change for yourself can be rewarding not just for you but for the students you impact. Consider joining a mission-minded organization where you can bring your passion to the work you do and continue to change students’ lives. 

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