These Effective Strategies Will Help You to Maintain a Healthier Work-Life Balance and Prevent Teacher Burnout

A Post By: Anthony Persico

The demands of being a classroom teacher can be extremely stressful and often lead to burnout. These strategies and helpful reminders can help you achieve work-life balance and learn to manage teaching-related stress in healthy ways.

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Edutopia describes teacher burnout as a state of continuous stress that leads to detachment and cynicism, exhaustion (both physical and emotional), and feeling ineffective and unaccomplished. It can also be described as depression caused by the workload involved with being a teacher.

When teachers fail to prioritize a healthy work-life balance, they put themselves at risk of burning out and losing their passion for being an educator. In fact, teacher burnout may be a leading factor in why 44% of new teachers quit the profession within their first five years.

However, there are many effective strategies that teachers can use to establish healthy boundaries between work and personal life, prevent themselves from being overextended and overstressed, and get through an entire school year without burning out.

3 Effective Strategies for Preventing Teacher Burnout

1.) Learn to Say No

Teachers often make more commitments than they can reasonably handle. While your heart is probably in the right place, you place yourself on the fast track to burnout when you say ‘yes’ too often.

In fact, once you establish yourself as someone who never says ‘no’, students, parents and administrators will only ask more of you, as they are skilled at squeezing every drop of energy a teacher has to offer.

But you have the right to say 'no' to unreasonable requests —without feeling guilty. In the long run, your students and your school will be better off having teachers who live healthy and balanced lives (rather than ones who are exhausted and burnt out).

Read More: Why Every Teacher Should Learn to Say 'No'

2.) Make Time For Yourself

Many teachers make the mistake of spending too much of their personal time working on school-related tasks. This imbalance can easily lead to feeling burnt out way before the school year has ended.

Establishing clear and firm boundaries between your work and personal life is a key element to establishing balance. Some ideas for setting boundaries include:

  • No checking emails after the school day has ended.

  • No grading or lesson planning on Fridays and Saturdays.

  • Staying after school for extra help only two days per week.

  • No committing to extracurricular activities.

In addition to setting boundaries, be sure to include non-negotiable personal time in your schedule for things like exercise, reading, and spending time with friends and loved ones.

Read More: A Message to New Teachers: Failure, Feedback, and Focus

3.) Practice Mindfulness

The everyday demands of teaching can be stressful and overwhelming. By practicing mindfulness through meditation, you can effectively learn to slow yourself down, maintain perspective, and deal with stress in a healthy way.

Mindfulness—a set of skills that allows one to be calm and focused on the present moment—can be a real game-changer for teachers looking to manage stress and avoid teacher burn out. Even a few minutes of practice each day can make a big difference.

The following infographic from Harvard Graduate School of Education shares more information on how teachers can use mindfulness to increase well-being, and overcome challenges.

Read More: 21 Time-Saving Strategies, Activities, and Ideas All Math Teachers Should Know


Building Mindfulness For Teachers Guide Learn more about early childhood education from Professional Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

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Anthony is the lead educator and founder of Mashup Math. He lives in Denver, Colorado and is also a YouTube for Education partner. Follow him on Twitter at @mashupmath.

 
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