Avoiding Teacher Burnout: Celebrate You This Labor Day!

By Sharon Taylor on September 2, 2011
  • Grades: PreK–K

Teachers, do you ever wish you could give yourself a time-out? Dealing with the different personalities and demands of our students, parents, administration, and that never-ending trail of paperwork can cause a teacher to feel overwhelmed and in need of a break. Although the school year has just started, it is always a great idea to learn different ways to prevent teacher burnout before it happens.




How many times have you felt you were simply spread too thinly over too many situations? Teachers aren't just teachers anymore; we take on many roles. Some of these include counselor, nurse, and even parent. The list of other duties we perform within one day can go on and on.

Alligator Check out this hilarious list of the many hats that teachers wear at stageforlearning.com.


Sharon & andrewMe & kids I am a kindergarten teacher, along with being a wife and busy mother of four little ones. I'm often asked how I manage it all. Here are a few tips I've used to stay sane for almost 16 years.

Accept that there are things you cannot change.

As teachers, we must realize there are things we do not and cannot control. We become annoyed and frustrated by those handing down various district and federal mandates. Or we obsess over events and decisions we have no control over. Remember that the one thing you can always control is your attitude toward these decisions.

Turn your lemons into lemonade!

 Little_SmileyInstead of focusing on the negative, turn your thoughts into positive ones. Stress relief begins and ends with your mind. Rekindle the sparkle you once had by reflecting on why you chose your profession. I teach in order to make a difference for children and to share myself with the world. Keep your reasons for teaching close to your heart and you'll realize that all of the stress really can be worth it.

Don't play teacher at home!

Burnout 007 Don't allow teaching to become a day and night job. The work of a teacher rarely stops at the end of the day. This is one aspect of my job that I often struggle with. Although this is not always possible, I try not to bring work home every night. Lately, I've learned to turn over simple tasks (such as cutting out patterns or laminating) to a parent volunteer. I often arrive to work early and stay later, but then my evenings are usually reserved for myself and my family. 

Take a recess!

Burnout 001 Build yourself quiet times and participate in activities you enjoy as a retreat from your work. Take a nice stroll in the evening or read a good book. Even a little bit of quiet time to unwind can be a huge help toward reducing stress. I like to get up about an hour before anyone else in my house. I use this time to sip on a hot cup of coffee and meditate in a warm bath. I always find time to pamper myself with the things I enjoy the most! Once I return to work, I feel refreshed and renewed.



Play on a team!

Burnout 006 Collaborate and plan with other teachers on your team. By working with other teachers, you can reduce your individual planning and greatly increase the availability of ideas and material for your classroom. Teachers can support one another's strengths and accommodate weaknesses. If you are a new teacher, I highly suggest you find a mentor at your school. It is important that all teachers realize we are not in this alone.

Teachers are arguably the most important group of professionals for our nation's future. You work hard and have an important role in our children's future. Learn to avoid teacher burnout by celebrating your success!

In addition to the tips discussed, take this cute prescription I found on ProTeacher.net:

M&Ms Rx Prescription For Teachers

To temporarily calm a craving for chocolate, eat a BROWN one.

At the first sign of "Meeting Overload," eat a RED one.

ORANGE ones minimize "Mental Block" during lesson planning.

GREEN ones calm frustrations while arranging furniture.

If you feel a headache coming on while talking to parents, eat a YELLOW one.

BLUE ones reduce "Bulletin Board Fatigue."

Directions: Take as needed. If all symptoms occur at the same time, eat the whole bag. Unlimited refills! Warning: May cause weight gain.



Hi Lisa, I'm so glad this post has reminded you of the importance of giving yourself a break! We all deserve a time-out sometimes! Have a great weekend!!

Sharon, I love this! Being a teacher is a very busy job. It's nice to be reminded (or given permission) to take time off for myself and my family. Enjoy your long weekend. You deserve it! :) Lisa

Hi Addie, thanks for the compliment! I'm taking my own advice this Labor Day weekend. I've spent the entire day relaxing and enjoying my family! As teachers, we work hard and deserve a little time off!

Love this Sharon!! It came at the perfect time too. I love your relaxation picture, and now have a wonderful excuse to eat those M & Ms I've been swearing off! :)

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