Teacher Burnout: What Stresses You Out?

Often teachers go into the profession with visions of inspiring eager young minds in a supportive and fully funded environment. Unfortunately some of the realities of teaching are not so ideal. Who expected all the paperwork that is required and the hundreds of hours spent in meetings? There is little time to do what you entered to the profession to do: teach.

Teacher burnout refers to that point an educator reaches when s/he comes to the conclusion that s/he just can’t take any more. Sometimes it’s just one untenable situation or aspect of teaching that makes them feel they can’t continue with their teaching career. Other times, they realize that the stress of the whole teaching experience is affecting their health, sleep, marriage, and other important parts of their lives.

What do you see as the reason(s) teachers suffer from burnout? Take our poll.

[poll id="2"]

Tell us what stresses you face in school and how you deal with them.

9 thoughts on “Teacher Burnout: What Stresses You Out?

  1. [...] Teacher Burnout: What Stresses You Out? – OEA Discussion Board Sep 23, 2009. Teacher burnout refers to that point an educator reaches when s/he comes. that makes them feel they can't continue with their teaching career… By participating on Voices of Change you agree to OEA's terms of use Teacher Burnout: What Stresses You Out? – OEA Discussion Board [...]

  2. I think you have to go in each day with a positive attitude toward your own life outside of school. Yes, kids stress you out and you get frustrated when administration or even other teachers don’t back you up. But it is not the end of the world, you deal with it and the kids, and everything usually works out in the end. I get frustrated but I try to leave it at school and not bring it home.

  3. To mcgilmo,

    Yes, you do have a difficult schedule. You should not have to bear the burden alone. I suggest you discuss your concerns and aspirations with your building representative or other teacher association leader. They should be able to help you get some immediate assistance or relief, and they can also consider ways to address issues that may take longer to resolve. The basic issue is the quality of teaching and learning conditions, i.e., working conditions, that you and your students are living with. The negotiated agreement between the association and the school district might provide some relief in the way of schedule and planning time. In addition, your association may be able to help you obtain assistance from colleagues or administrative staff on planning, time management and teaching strategies that you can employ to manage or eliminate some problems. Best wishes.

  4. Here’s a good article with tips for avoiding teacher burnout: http://www.freearticlesforcontent.com/avoid-teacher-burnout/

  5. Traveling among schools and having limited class time both make it difficult to establish the kind of relationships with students that reduce behavioral issues. Making positive parent contact is always a good first step. A print or electronic letter that introduces yourself, states your goals for your art students this year, outlines your classroom rules and expectations and includes your contact information is a good way to reach out to parents. It also sets a positive tone in the event you have to contact parents regarding specific discipline issues later. In each classroom, find a place to post your rules and expectations and make them clear to your students. If possible, work with your colleagues and building administration to create a progressive discipline plan to deal with behavioral issues in each school. Finally, the more that students are engaged in art activities, the less time they have to act out. Traveling and not having your own space makes it more difficult to be organized, so see if you can work with the teachers whose rooms you share to create space for supplies and student artwork in progress. Then, structure your lessons to have your students engaged from bell to bell. With limited time, you may have to break up projects into smaller, more manageable pieces, interspersing information with hands-on activities into “chunks” that are doable in 40-minute sessions.

  6. As an art educator I travel to 3 schools, classes are oversized, shared rooms, and I only see the students 1 time a week for merely 40 minutes. It takes me too long to get through an adequate informational and hands-on project–no breaks inbetween my classes leaves me with my head spinning and leaves no room for error. The worst is that I have a lot of behavioral issues, but because I am not seeing the students or even at the school on a consistent basis, making my ability to discipline them adequately a very difficult challenge. Any suggestions???

  7. TOO MANY STUDENTS IN A CLASSROOM stresses me out!!! I have 21 Kindergarten students and one aide for 4 classes! That might not seem like many to you but we had 16 students per classroom last year and they achieved more than the students during any year I’ve taught (30 years). We are supposed to give them a good start but if you have so many that you don’t have enough time to give all the extra help that some of them require, how can you do justice to them? If the class sizes are smaller in the lower grades, they would have a better foundation to build on. Why can’t administration see that? Make the classes smaller in the lower grades (where the students are more needy and require more individual attention) and they will be able to handle the larger class sizes as they get older because they will have a good foundation of the basics in reading and math!

  8. Having to file 4 Unfair Labor Practices against the Board of Ed in just over a year. Really takes the fun out of teaching to work for people who treat you like dirt.

  9. Thanks for doing this poll. I’d like to see a follow up poll as well. “Too many non-teaching duties” is too general. I’d like to have the question asked, “What are your non-teaching duties and how do they interfere with your teaching?” Another follow-up could be on “Not enough time.” What is your non-teaching or non-student contact time spent doing and how much time does that account for? Think about things like having a 30 minute lunch, but needing to walk the kids to the cafeteria, wait for the microwave to cook your lean cuisine, and then leaving early to pick up the kids and walk them back to your classroom. This equates to 15 minutes of down time (if that’s even enough time to get down) which means more stress.

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