Burnout & Recovery
In order to burn out, a person needs to have been on fire at one time. –Ayala Pines
Whether we like it or not, burnout is a prevalent and growing problem in education. Burned out educators who keep working as educators aren’t doing anybody any favors, and aren’t fooling anyone. Ask any student, staffer, or parent who the burnouts are in a school.
Those who burn out to the point of leaving – well that’s a whole other kettle of fish. First there is the expense to the district – which must now replace with likely a newer, less experienced teacher. There is a financial cost to this. Additionally, there is an impact on student learning, with there being some evidence that it takes a new teacher three to five years to get their feet under them. This is evidenced in measured student learning, which is definitely stronger with a more seasoned teacher at the helm.
The part we don’t seem to talk about enough is the impact on the teacher who is going through all this emotional trauma. The teachers I know who have left the profession express a most definite heartbreak at having to leave. Some of them really struggle with recovering, and with finding a new direction. More than one person I have talked with described their reaction to returning to the classroom in a list of symptoms similar to post traumatic stress syndrome.
We have to stop treating our educators as disposable items in our learning systems. These are people, and they deserve the same consideration we feel they should give their students.
So, under this heading, we will be exploring the dynamics of burnout and disengagement, and looking closely at recovery. I know there are educators out there who have come to the brink of burnout, and managed to back away from the edge, more resilient and able to continue down the path of an educator. There are those of you who have self-managed in such a way that you have never once felt burned-out. We’d like to hear from you. We’d like to get the conversation going between the many educators out there. You all have a great deal of wisdom to share.
Click on any of the links below to learn more.
Teacher Turnover and Teacher Workload – opinion piece