Here’s How To Spot Teacher Burnout Symptoms

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Jan. 29 2024, Published 8:10 a.m. ET

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As teachers navigate the increasing demands of the classroom, personal commitments, and the daily hustle and bustle, burnout can emerge through various physical and emotional symptoms. This guide helps spot and manage teacher burnout symptoms, offering insights for those prepared to address or navigate a challenging situation.

What Is Teacher Burnout?

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Typically defined as a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion, teacher burnout often surfaces due to feeling overwhelmed by the job. Telltale characteristics may include (but are not limited to) a decline in enthusiasm for work, reduced effectiveness in teaching, and more.

I think that the best place to start the conversation is acknowledging that burnout is a thing, and it’s within every career, every field,” said Kris Ramos, a licensed clinical social worker at Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center, per KSAT.

Because burnout can arise from a combination of factors — heavy workload, insufficient resources, lack of support, challenging student behavior, and more — recognizing the symptoms is crucial for getting ahead. As a result, this will help you sustain a positive and effective learning environment.

“I think that some of the bigger problems that are coming up, some of the bigger challenges that they’re facing are that they’re having to perform outside of their typical role as educators,” added Ramos. “They’re having to do a lot more than just teach.” 

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Learn To Spot Common Symptoms

Per the National Library of Medicine, teacher burnout can negatively impact how a person views themself, among other things. Keep scrolling to learn the common symptoms of teacher burnout and how to cope.

Behavioral Symptoms

Withdrawal: Social withdrawal from colleagues and friends.

Decreased performance: Decline in the quality of teaching and work performance.

Absenteeism: Taking more sick days or time off than usual.

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Cognitive Symptoms

Difficulty concentrating: Trouble focusing on tasks or making decisions.

Forgetfulness: Experiencing increased forgetfulness.

Reduced creativity: Feeling the diminished ability to create new ideas or approaches.

Emotional Symptoms

Irritability: Easily frustrated or annoyed.

Motivation decline: Feeling a decreased passion for teaching and work-related tasks.

Sense of failure: Feeling that you are not making a difference.

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Physical Symptoms

Fatigue: Increased tiredness and a lack of energy.

Insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

Migraines: Frequent or chronic headaches.

Psychological Symptoms

Increased anxiety: Heightened levels of stress and anxiety.

Depression: An increase in feelings of sadness or hopelessness.

Loss of enjoyment: Feeling diminished interest or pleasure in hobbies.

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How To Manage Teacher Burnout Blues

The key to managing teacher burnout is self-care. Combining therapy, exercise, connecting with your community, and more are easy ways to put your well-being first. For a breakdown of recommended outlets, see below.

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Prioritize sleep: Ensure you get sufficient beauty sleep each night.

Healthy lifestyle: Maintain a balanced diet and engage in regular physical activity.

Mindfulness: Take the time to practice mindfulness, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.

Set Boundaries

Work-life balance: Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life.

Learn to say no: Avoid taking on too many additional responsibilities that may contribute to a feeling of overload.

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Time Management

Prioritize tasks: Focus on high-priority tasks and avoid over-committing.

Plan: Get a jump on lesson planning and pencil in ample time to grade assignments efficiently.

Seek Support

Connect with colleagues: Share experiences and concerns with fellow teachers.

Counseling services: Consider seeking professional help or therapy if needed.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP): Utilize workplace resources for mental health support.

Time For Hobbies And Interests

Try a new hobby: Engage in activities you enjoy outside of teaching.

Recharge: Take breaks and vacations to recharge and disconnect.

Remember, managing teacher burnout is an ongoing process. That said, it’s paramount to prioritize your well-being. Seeking professional help if the symptoms persist is also a valuable step toward recovery.

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

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