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Teacher Burn Out

Two weeks ago I lead the infant teacher’s team meeting. We talked about teacher burn out, read a chapter called nurturing the caregiver from Being with Babies and I brought in mint, lemon, ginger water as a little treat. I think the meeting went pretty well. One of the reasons I choose to talk about this topic was because I have been feeling so burnt out lately.

One of the quotes that kept showing up in the chapter was “some caregivers are good at meeting the needs of others but fall short in taking care of themselves” (172). This is a real life statement. It’s so true and teachers can’t be their best self if they haven’t been taking care of themselves.

With this on my mind, I had last week scheduled off for months. It was perfect timing and I made the most of my stay-cation. I took a break from all things work like, crafted, relaxed, took a dance class and hung out with friends and family. I feel so much better than I have in a REALLY long time. I was so excited to come into work today and see the children and my co-teachers.

I know not everyone can take a week off, it’s important to know when you are starting to feel burnt out and do something about it. One of my administrators said that when she was teacher she made sure to schedule random days off throughout the school year to give herself some me time. The chapter suggested to try taking a bath and relaxing at night or to meet up with a friend for coffee. Another point that I kept thinking about was, that burn out doesn’t happen in isolation. Being a part of a school means you’re a part of a community. We have a responsibility to look out for our co-teachers and the wellbeing of our community. It might be easier to spot signs of burn out in someone else and it might take some courage to tell that person something along the lines of, “you sound a little stressed, worn out or burnt out, what can I do to help?”

You have to find out what works best for you, be aware of your own personal signs of burn out and listen to your body! We teach this to children so we need to listen to ourselves and model what that looks like.

Resources:

Kovach, Beverly, and Denise Da Ros-Voseles. Being with babies: understanding and responding to the infants in your care. Lewsville: Gryphon House, 2008. Print.

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5 thoughts on “Teacher Burn Out

  1. This made me think of a time when I was teaching the Two’s in room 211 and was trying to get the children ready to go outside. Apparently I sounded really stressed and one of our coworkers came into the hall where my class and I were and offered to take over so I could take a short walk and calm down. If she wouldn’t have done that I would have never known that I was being so grouchy towards my students… It was very eye opening and helped me look on the bright side and change my attitude. It was great to know that someone cared enough to step up and offer a helping hand.

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    1. What a great story Melisa! Thank you for sharing! It does feel really nice when you know there is someone looking out for you and your mental health even if you don’t see it. I know for me, it’s easier to see things in other people than in myself. Thank you again for sharing and reading my post 🙂 I’m also thankful that, that teacher stepped in and gave you a breather when you really needed it!

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  2. Thank you SO much for this. I think I needed to hear it from someone else 😉 having a preschool of my own and directing a daycare (and filling into rooms as needed) has me triple booked and leaving no time to actually breathe. Realizing its okay to take an hour or so off and just be ALONE does the heart and body some good!

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    1. You are so welcome! Wow, that is a lot to take on. It’s so important to give yourself a break and don’t feel bad about it. Taking care of yourself, I think, makes you an even more caring teacher/ director/ support staff . It truly benefits everyone. Thank you for reading my post Katherine and for commenting! I really appreciate it and don’t forget to take care of YOU!

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