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Teacher Burnout is a Real Obstacle in Education Today

Teacher burnout is defined as “a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism, detachment, and feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.” Despite being so apparent, it’s not talked about much because schools seem to be so focused on the students. We need to put the same emphasis of importance on our teachers as we do our students. Ironically, the same institutions these teachers are working so hard for are the source of their burnout. The demands of the job can pile up and create huge amounts of stress. For instance, they are constantly putting their best efforts into the lesson plans and the care for their students. Occasionally, they have to deal with students who are disruptive or problematic in the classroom. The extra effort needed to have everything in order can deplete a person’s energy fairly quickly.

The teacher’s responsibilities extend past the job description. For teachers to be effective, they are pushed to understand and be emotionally invested in their students. Unfortunately, this can lead to emotional exhaustion and eventually teacher burnout. Hey Teach! states that there are four signs to detecting burnout.

Symptoms of Teacher Burnout

  1. Fatigue and Sleep Issues
  2. Periods of Forgetfulness and Intense Trouble Concentrating
  3. Appetite and Weight Issues
  4. Depression and Anxiety

Evidently, teacher burnout has very serious implications and, if not addressed correctly, can lead to very destructive problems. These symptoms make it harder for the teachers to function normally as well as doing their job. Therefore, it’s obvious that the teacher turnover rate is constantly increasing. Almost 20% of teachers are changing schools or simply leaving the profession altogether. The same people struggling to take care of themselves are the ones responsible for teaching our children. When we ignore the teachers, we are neglecting our kids today and the leaders of our future. These support systems can hopefully decrease the turnover rate. If you’re a teacher struggling with any of these symptoms, make sure to talk to your doctor!

How to Prevent Teacher Burnout

Knowing the issues that come with teacher burnout, the most important thing we can do is find ways to prevent it. Edutopia points out three ways that schools can do this:

  1. Provide Support Services
  2. Provide Proactive Screening
  3. Foster a Positive School Culture

In other words, we need places for teachers where they can find support and people looking for the signs of teacher burnout in their faculties. These practices can not be ignored because of how vital it can be to the staff. For example, stress management workshops can teach stress-coping strategies. In addition, these resources can eliminate the sense of isolation that both teachers and students possibly feel. Although not every teacher is burning out, the problem is that some are. Our teachers are pressured to elevate student’s standardized test scores and performance in the classroom. With these expectations, we need to take measures to ensure that the faculty is being supported. Without proper support, how can we expect teachers to flourish?

Often times, we neglect the staff and direct all of our attention to the students. We can not commit to our children’s success if we fail to realize the importance of the teacher’s well being. Educators need to not only value the student’s accomplishments but also their rest. This means teachers need to strike a balance between work and finding activities they enjoy. If not, teacher burnout is and will continue to be a very real problem in our schools. We need to work towards creating a better future for our students by investing in our teachers.

Casper from GradeHub
Casper Lee is majoring in business at the University of California, Irvine and this year’s marketing intern at GradeHub