After a tough year, you might be experiencing teacher fatigue and wonder about whether teaching is for you. Let me stop you right there and share that we ALL have challenging groups that come through. Never let one challenging year suck the air out of your teaching balloon! Instead, implement a few of these tips suggested by my readers to rejuvenate and refocus for the coming year. You need the summer to get your teacher mojo back in order to avoid teacher burn out.
Strategies for Avoiding Teacher Burn Out:
Remember Your Why from Cathy
Why did you become a teacher? What made you choose education? Sometimes we get distracted by all the extra stuff in education and forget why we chose to become an educator to begin with. If we can really focus on WHY we teach, then we’re better able to ignore the negative aspects that are bringing us down. This has helped me avoid teacher fatigue in my 30 years.
Get Your Hands Dirty from Jessica
Sometimes we need to work out frustrations when we’re dealing with teacher fatigue. One way to do it that reaps great rewards is to dig into the dirt and plant a garden or flowers. As they bloom, plants can brighten not only the outside, but our pride in a finished project. Not a gardener, then choose a room to paint or redecorate or get together with friends for some crafting.
Delay Thinking and Planning for the Next Year from Amber
This summer needs to be about YOU in order to avoid teacher burn out. There are things you have probably neglected all year long. Trying to do everything just so you can to keep her head above water is draining. You’ve tried your best to make the year better! Use the rest of May and all of June to completely fill your “bucket”. Focus on your family, books you enjoy that you didn’t get to read during the year, and lounging by the pool. Wait til July to think about the new year.
Exchange “War Stories” from Angela
Sometimes it helps to get with colleagues who have had a tough year too. Sharing your crazy stories helps put a humor spin on things. We know laughter is good for the soul. You might keep a journal to record the good stuff. Humor will help cure teacher fatigue.
Give Your Room a Makeover from Julie
New digs always make us feel better about our appearance, and new digs in your classroom can help you feel like it’s a new year. You might follow a theme, but you can also just change up the colors. Choose bright and cheery colors to uplift your mood as well as the mood of your students.
Take a Vacation from Samantha
Vacations can create wonderful memories and give us a new focus. Vacations don’t have to mean going to France or Australia. You might go camping for a long weekend or visit friends in another part of the country that you haven’t seen in a while. Proper breaks from school thoughts can help bring in the calm and reduce fatigue.
Find Relaxation Techniques from Jordan
Whether it’s a manicure/pedicure day, coffee with a friend, or a massage, practice relaxation. Some find yoga relaxing, and for some, a long afternoon nap may be just what you need. Relaxation helps calm our brains and settles our nerves.
Create a Bucket List from Antonio
Antonio suggested eating chocolate and drinking wine! ? Seriously, make a bucket list of things you enjoy and do each one during June. Each thing you love will bring you joy and joy will help you prepare for work again.
Learn Something New from Tracy
Take classes to learn something new. Pottery, painting, stained glass, etc. Getting back to your creative side can help you feel better about yourself. You end up creating something you never thought possible and it makes you feel like you can accomplish so much more.
Read for Pleasure from Wendy
Read books for your own pleasure. I always called them my “trashy summer reads” because they were somewhat mindless, but kept me interested, and they were NOT about school, education, or teaching. Go for walks, yoga, sleep late and/or stay up late (no school in the morning!). You might try painting for enjoyment or going to the pool. Time in the sun brings relaxation. Sipping a quiet cup of tea, catching up on movies you have been meaning to see, or getting together with friends for leisurely lunches also help. Make this time about you. Trust me, after 30 years of teaching, I can tell you that some years were absolutely wonderful. Then, there were those that were daily trials and seemed as if they’d never be over. We all have them. Anyone who claims otherwise is just not being honest.
Nature is Calling from Amanda
Nature is calling. Sometimes on the crappiest days, just breathing in the fresh air, taking in the sun, and listening to nothing but wind/bugs/birds is the best medicine. Go for a long walk in a peaceful place, have a picnic lunch, and just savor the alone time. Sprinkling in a little time with nature during the school year is a great idea too.
Get Near the Water from Janice
Read and sit at the lake. Bask in the sunshine. If you’re near a beach, sit and listen to the crashing waves. Both bring peace and solace to busy lives.
Find a Professional Book to Build Skills from Shelby
If your year was rough, one great way to build your skills to overcome challenges is through professional reading. There are many blogs that sponsor online book discussions, so you might google the book title you’re interested in. Shelby suggested Elena Aguilar’s book “Onward” about resiliency? It deals with exactly this sort of difficulty. The book is designed to be read a chapter each month *starting in June. There is a workbook with activities to go along with it as a daily reflection that usually only takes a few minutes. You could read it with other teachers you work with who may understand the challenges you’ve worked through.
Recommended Reading for Avoiding Teacher Fatigue:
- Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess
- Wild Card by Hope and Wade King
- Move Your Bus by Ron Clark
- Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire by Rafe Esquith
Links to Related Reading:
A challenging year can really make it tough to keep going, but I hope these suggestions help you take care of you. You are important, valued, appreciated, and you must remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Finding time for yourself will refill your tank and help you avoid teacher burn out.