Teacher Burnout – The Causes, Signs, and Prevention

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Teacher Burnout – The Causes, Signs, and Prevention

Teachers have always been at risk of burnout, however, the pandemic has made teachers burnout much more prevalent. Many teachers find themselves exhausted, disconnected, being inefficient, and no longer liking teaching. These are all examples that the World Health Organization (WHO) characterizes as symptoms of burnout syndrome. Burnout is a syndrome resulting from chronic worktime stress that isn’t being successfully managed. Here are the causes, signs, and prevention methods teachers can utilize to manage teacher burnout.


The Causes

Here is a list of possible causes:

  • Beyond normal amounts of responsibilities
  • Lacking administrative support
  • Poor school funding
  • Dealing with difficult parents
  • Personal financial difficulties
  • Feeling not appreciated and undervalued
  • Standardized testing being used to Evaluate teachers
  • The over-emphasis on standardized testing
  • Severely disruptive students and classroom management issues
  • Evolving expectations
  • Chaotic schedules
  • Extreme amounts of paperwork
  • A lack of resources
  • A lack of training for new technology


Signs of Teacher Burnout

Here are a few signs you may be experiencing teacher burnout:

  • Chronic insomnia
  • Feeling self-doubt and a lack of confidence
  • Anxiety
  • No desire to socialize with peers
  • Getting easily irritated
  • Physical symptoms such as: headaches, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, and dizziness
  • Increased complaining
  • Depersonalization
  • Brain fog
  • Physical and mental exhaustion
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Lack of motivation and drive
  • Feeling like what you’re doing isn’t making a difference
  • Negative feelings toward being an educator


Prevention Methods for Teacher Burnout

  • Talk about teacher burnout. Talking with a trusted colleague can make you feel not so alone and will keep negative feelings from bubbling under the surface.
  • Practice self-care. Some examples of this are:
    • Practicing meditation
    • Yoga routine
    • Taking a walk in nature
    • Reading a book you love
    • Creating a sleep schedule
    • Turning off your brain with a movie and popcorn
  • Be cautious about contagious negativity.
  • Set boundaries for yourself and for your work. Set reasonable deadlines and adhere to a plan. With parents and colleagues, set boundaries for when you can and cannot be contacted.
  • Be compassionate over empathetic. Teachers tend to be very empathetic people; however, when you are overly empathetic you take on too much of the pain from others and it can cause emotional and mental struggles.
  • Consider therapy.

Teacher burnout can seriously negatively affect your quality of life and it’s important to acknowledge it and treat it before it festers. Learning how to combat teacher burnout can empower you to take control of your life and career and can foster positive mental health and career positivity. 

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