Pediatric Therapy Corner: 10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher (and School-Based Therapist) Burnout
Editor’s Note: This article works great if you replace the word “teacher” with “school-based therapy clinician” as well! Please enjoy!
“Why did I want to be a teacher?” We all face burnout, sometimes on a daily basis, and in my case, especially after fourth period. Most of the time, we can pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and go back to the drawing board to try another strategy to find success with student learning. I have to admit that it is getting more and more difficult to make that transition back to a willingness to try again. I can’t help to think students are more difficult than they used to be a few years ago, and pressures from accountability are becoming more oppressive. And of course, the pay for teachers is inadequate. With all of this we may ask, is it worth it?
Rather than provide a list of things to avoid, I would like to take a more proactive stance by sharing things that will help diminish burnout feelings and help you answer, yep, it is worth it.
Step #1) Have Fun Daily with Your Students
Share jokes, brief stories, puzzles, brain teasers, etc. This keeps it interesting for you and for your students. It only takes a minute and they are easy to align to the topic of the day.
Step #2) Take Care of Your Health
The physical status of your body affects your emotional responses, so never feel guilty about taking care of yourself. Skipping lunch or breakfast are bad ideas. Make sure you get enough sleep each day. Take a rejuvenating micro-nap when you get home. Get some better shoes to put a spring in your step. I used to think that I was an active teacher and did not need exercise, but I realized that I need cardio-vascular and upper body exercise, too. Thirty minutes on a treadmill, two days a week will do wonders. Simple pushups strengthen your abdomen, back, and arms. You will be surprised at how much it helps you not be worn out at the end of the day.
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