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