When you became a teacher, you were probably full of excitement and enthusiasm, determined to change lives and make a difference in the world. But one of the things you may not have been prepared for is just how stressful teaching can be — especially after two years of virtual and hybrid learning.
With the pressure of being responsible for molding the future generation (not to mention designing engaging lesson plans, reaching state standards, caring for the mental and emotional welfare of students, and more), it’s no surprise that half a million teachers quit their jobs every year.
Luckily, burnout isn’t the only outcome for the dedicated teacher. Here are 5 strategies to reduce stress levels and avoid teacher burnout, tried and tested by teachers themselves!
Lighten the Load
Psst, here’s a secret: Every teacher has looked at their list of things to do and felt like crying (or actually cried) at least once. Yes, our to-do lists seem infinite, but remember that not everything has to be done right now!
Sometimes, everything can seem urgent and important, but if you take a closer look at your to-do list, you can often identify what can wait. Then… let it wait! While we’re here, try to set some healthy boundaries around what you actually have the capacity to accomplish, and practice saying “no” to things that don’t fit into your schedule, aren’t necessary, or that you just plain don’t want to do!
Avoid Sunday Scaries
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” It also makes teachers likely to succumb to burnout. We teachers often spend our weekends planning and preparing for the week ahead. While this is important to be successful in the classroom, it is just as essential that we’re rested and energized as well.
Avoid the Sunday Scaries by planning something that brings you joy each Sunday. Whether that’s a walk in the park to enjoy the fall foliage, brunch with friends, or just being curled up by the fireplace with a good book, scheduling in you-time on the weekend will help you refresh and recharge!
Use Tech Tools that Make Life Easier
More isn’t always better – especially when it comes to tech tools! Use tech tools that integrate with your Learning Management System (LMS) so you have everything in one place for you and your students. You’ll avoid the dreaded multi-tab browser, paperwork, and multiple passwords for accounts.
Spending hours each week grading assignments? Reduce your workload by using edtech tools like Read to Lead that do the grading for you! Save even more time on lesson prep by tapping into resources that offer pre-made lessons plans that can be easily adapted to your specific classroom needs. Tools like Read to Lead, EdPuzzle, Peardeck, and Flipgrid not only free up your time, they also make learning fun and engaging for students. Win-win!
Use Tools that Differentiate Learning
No two students are ever exactly the same, which is why differentiated learning is so powerful. But identifying each student’s exact strengths and weaknesses and then adapting and scaffolding the curriculum in a way that helps them succeed can be time-consuming and stressful. That’s where Read to Lead can lend a hand!
Read to Lead games employ adaptive technology to modify assessments based on students’ performance within the platform. The teacher dashboard also provides in-depth information about their performance so you can further differentiate instruction to meet your students’ learning needs!
Celebrate Teacher Accomplishments
You probably celebrate your students’ accomplishments, but why not celebrate your fellow teachers too? Teachers are constantly doing exceptional things, whether it’s mentoring a student, creating an amazing lesson plan, or even helping another teacher– these moments should be celebrated too.
See a teacher do something great? Tell them, and tell others! Not only is it going to bring a smile to your colleague’s face, but the cheer it spreads is also contagious! And what better way to lift everyone’s spirits and combat teacher burnout than with a fun little celebration?
Teaching is a stressful job but burnout doesn’t have to be an unavoidable result of your career choice. By putting these five strategies into practice, you too can avoid teacher burnout and have a successful, satisfying school year ahead!
About Read to Lead
Read to Lead uses the power of game-based learning to empower middle school students to build literacy, life, and career skills. Teachers can sign up for a free account to get started!