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4 Practical Ways Teachers Can Beat Burnout And Flourish In Their Careers

02/06/2021 Alex


Teaching is one of the most rewarding career paths anyone can go down. Unfortunately, the spectre of burnout and stress is never far behind for too many teachers today.

High workloads and insufficient support have led to a situation where 75% of teaching and education staff report experiencing stress symptoms in the last two years. The Covid-19 pandemic has only worsened the problem of burnout among teachers, with a quarter having sought medical help in the last year.

This is not how it should be, and teachers deserve better. Children cannot live up to their potential when their teachers are frazzled and miserable.

Teaching Personnel exists to support educators. We are here to help you thrive in a vital job that changes lives. That’s why we have put together a few practical ways that teachers can relieve stress and prevent burnout from getting in the way of their excellent work.

1. Be vigilant about the warning signs of burnout

Burnout is insidious. Teachers do not suddenly wake up one morning in a fug of exhaustion and detachment. Instead, the pressures of the job can chip away at you gradually until it becomes genuinely difficult to function day-to-day.

Prevention is the best cure here. You need to be alert to the early signs so that you can take decisive action to nip burnout in the bud.

Popular education blogger Victoria Hewitt has proposed three primary red flags here to look out for. These are:

  • Depersonalisation entailing an increasing sense of cynicism and isolation from the job.
  • Reduced performance and impaired productivity on account of consistent inner negativity.
  • Exhaustion, both physical and emotional.

 If you think you recognise any of these in yourself, then it is time to do something about it before things get worse

2. Rethink your workload

When your primary daily goal is to make sure your pupils are learning effectively, it is easy to lose sight of yourself and your own needs. But everything in your career stems from the way you work, including your pupils’ success.

Teachers can fall into a trap of wearing excessively long hours like a badge of honour, clocking up long evenings spent in school just to demonstrate their value. This is what Dr Emma Kell calls “the scourge of presenteeism” that drives people to “go through full-on burnout [rather] than admit that you’re being fuelled by insecurity and contagious, poor working practices”.

If you find yourself consistently volunteering to take on more work than you can handle and staying in school far longer than you are obliged to, then it might be prudent to take a step back and examine if your working habits as a teacher might be putting you on a course to burnout.

3. Seek help

It is worth remembering that the vital message you pass down to pupils – don’t suffer in silence - applies to you too. There is a great deal of strength in admitting that you can no longer deal with this on your own. After all, you have a duty to look after yourself as well as your pupils.

If you really do feel at the end of your tether, you should consider making an appointment with your GP to see what solutions they might propose.

If you don’t feel confident about going down that route just yet, Education Support offer free, round-the-clock telephone support and counselling through their helpline (0800 562 561 or 07909 341229  by text).

4. Find a new position

Sadly, some schools are less well-equipped to deal with wellbeing issues among staff than others. If you are finding your current situation truly intolerable, a change of role may be what you need to help you love teaching again.

As the UK’s largest educational recruitment agency, Teaching Personnel is best placed to help you leave behind a bad situation and find a new job at a school you love. We have lots of roles available at thousands of schools for primary and secondary teachers of all subjects.

We also offer options for flexible work for those who want to make a longer-term change to their working schedules.

If you want our help in overcoming burnout and finding your feet in a rewarding teaching career, just get in touch with our specialist recruitment consultants.

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