3 Myths About Teacher Burn out and Why You Shouldn’t Believe Them
Teacher Burnout. It’s a heavy topic. For those who feel they are on the road toward burnout, it is an emotional and trying time. There are many factors that can lead one toward teacher burnout, but there are also some commonly held misconceptions that deserve closer examination.
Joy in Teaching’s mission is to provide resources and community to support teacher resilience, end burnout, and reclaim the joy in teaching. In order to gain momentum, we must dissect the root of the problem.
Good Teachers Don’t BurnOut
This is the number one myth for a reason. It is completely and utterly FALSE. I have personally witnessed some of the most caring and giving teachers I have known walk away from the profession due to burnout.
But “Why”, might you ask, “would good teachers turn away from a profession they care about?”.
Well, there are usually layers of factors that result in a teacher ultimately burning out. It is rare that a teacher will burn out due to not being a good, caring, and giving educator.
Compassion fatigue is a very real condition in which caretakers (i.e. teacher in this case, although it is also evident in the health care industry) take on so much from helping those in need around them that they begin to cope by disengaging. This is devastating on multiple levels:
- It crumbles the impact of a once giving, empathetic, and effective educator
- It leaves the students and staff that depend on the teacher
- Without any support or resiliency training, it is difficult to bounce back from
Burnout Comes From Poor Classroom Management
There have been many teachers who have had that tough group come through their room that caused them to ponder if this class would be the end of them. We all have stories of “that one class” or “that one grade”, but in the end they made us stronger teachers. We developed new strategies, tested new approaches, and the next year, we entered our classrooms as stronger, braver, more resilient teachers.
Classroom management is a skill. It is taught and it is learned.
Poor Classroom management is a cause for trying new strategies, testing inventions, collaboration, and support. It is not a cause for burnout.
Administration is at Fault
Often administration is the scape goat.
Things not running smoothly? It’s the administrations fault. Kids fighting in the hallways? It’s the administrations fault. Test scores decreasing? It’s the administrations fault.
Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy?
Administration has a role to play in burnout. They are responsible for supporting the teachers both in the day-to-day operations of the school and in investing in their teachers’ well-being through meaningful professional development focused on teacher resiliency and self-care.
It is one of many of administration’s responsibilities to ensure that the educators feel supported and heard. However, administration is just one piece of the puzzle and fault cannot be solely placed here.
Often teachers are left to rise up on their own. Develop their own resiliency. Seek their own support. It is possible to be a strong and resilient teacher both because of or despite of your administration. Teachers can not rest on the haunches of their blame, but instead, they must define their own strength and be confident that they are making a difference and their hard work is meaningful, impactful, and significant.