Are your teachers leaving your school too soon and you are facing an issue retaining them? Are your teachers too worn out and always seem to carry a lot of stress on their faces? This may hint at a scenario of teacher burnout wherein your teachers are feeling exhausted on a day-to-day basis.
Teachers invest in immense efforts to play an active role in the learning and career-building of their students. But as they put incessant selfless efforts to shape the careers of their students, their own well-being goes ignored.
As a school administrator or coordinator, you should give importance to the physical and mental well-being of your teachers. Your teachers are vital for your school as they deliver the service of an excellent education. So, making curriculums that lessen the burden on students is not enough. As an administrator, you should also look to reduce the excessive pressure on teachers so that they do not burn out.
When teachers feel burnt out, their efficiency declines, and the quality of education offered by your institution starts taking a hit. Therefore, the management must smartly balance the workload of teachers. Also, besides workload, there can be other concerns that teachers face. You should be sensitive to their concerns and be available to hear them out.
Next, let us take a closer look at the concept of teacher burnout. It is vital to understand what it means, its various symptoms of it, and its causes. After that, we move to some pragmatic solutions to address the critical issue of burnout in your teachers. The process of resolving it remains incomplete without knowing the signs and causes of it.
What is teacher burnout?
In simple terms, teacher burnout is defined as the issue of persistent chronic stress in teachers. This stress can affect the effectiveness of teachers regardless of their experience and knowledge. When teachers develop a feeling of burnout, they lose their ability to function with productivity. Moreover, it instigates a lack of respect for the profession in them. Teacher burnout can result in the following signs in teachers.
- Exhaustion: In this frame of mind, teachers start to feel that they have nothing more to offer to the school or students
- Cynicism: In this case, teachers start distancing themselves from colleagues or added responsibilities
- Inefficacy: This happens when educators start feeling incompetent
So, it is evident that it is a severe problem that impacts teachers, students, and management. The efficacy of teachers is one of the best determinants to adjudge the quality of a school. Now, when teachers witness reducing employee engagement, the impacts are going to be visible everywhere.
According to some teacher burnout statistics, 17 per cent of teachers quit their jobs within 5 five years. This turnover of teachers brings additional cost liabilities for the schools and management. It is a significant issue for schools to address. But first, let us look at some causes of teacher burnout.
Some common causes of teacher burnout
Talking about the causes of burnout in teachers, there are several interrelated reasons for it. The causes of teacher burnout can vary between a lack of support from the school management or behavioural issues among students. The most common causes of burnout in your teachers include the following.
- Time management constraints for lessons and schedules
- Disrespectful behaviour from students or colleagues
- Excessive workload and additional duties
- Absence of autonomy among teachers to make crucial decisions about the classroom
- Inattentiveness of students or learning disabilities among students
- Insufficient budgets to purchase necessary materials
- Insufficient time to prepare for lessons and class activities
- Disrupted work-life balance
- Lack of communication between teachers and the school management
- Sleep deprivation and regular fatigue
Now, after we have realised the causes of burnout in educators, let us shed light on some practical solutions. For you, as an administrator, these solutions or strategies should be of immense importance. By applying these helpful strategies, you can prevent teachers from burning out. Further, in doing so, you can safeguard the quality of education and excellence that your school commits to.
5 Most practical ways to prevent teacher burnout
Allow teachers to be more autonomous.
One right way to impart positivity in teachers is to offer some freedom and empowerment. You should allow them to have some control over their daily professional lives. Teachers should have the liberty to lead their classrooms and take important decisions for the class. Further, with this autonomy, they are going to feel more confident about inspiring positive changes in the school. So, you should let them plan the curriculums on their own back their ability.
Offer mental health
Nowadays, schools are happy to offer counselling and mental health assistance to students. It is a positive sign that schools are recognising the need to address mental health issues. But why limit that only to students and not offer it to your teachers? Besides, teacher burnout has a direct correlation with mental traumas and stress.
Therefore, by providing the right mental health care to your teachers, you can prevent them from wearing out. Teachers are under constant pressure too and may need help with their anxiety. Thus, you should plan ways to offer psychological assistance to teachers for their well-being.
Discourage stigmas related to burnout signs
There are already many stigmas associated with depression, stress, and mental health. This is one of the primary reasons why teachers do not speak out about their mental health conditions. As an administrator, you should set the environment of the school right.
You should discourage any stigmas related to depressions and instead create an open culture. Further, you should have your door always available for teachers so that they can share their concerns with you. Avoiding stigmas and making educators comfortable about sharing everything should go hand in hand. In this way, teachers are not going to hold back their stress, and they can vent it out.
Early detection of signs
You should know about the various signs and symptoms of teacher burnout. In this way, you can identify signs of burnout in teachers at an early stage. Moreover, when you recognise these signs in time, you can offer assistance to teachers well in time. When teachers get service promptly, it can help them battle burnout in an efficient way.
Also, assistance from the school can prevent the worsening of this problem in them. Therefore, you can avoid your teachers from falling deep into the trap of burnout and pull them up from there.
Offer additional support
All of us go through bad patches in our professional or personal lives. In either case, turbulence in one aspect of life spills into the other. Your teachers may be going through personal issues or family issues. Furthermore, in these difficult times of the pandemic, there may be a broad spectrum of worries running in their head.
So, it is going to be a welcome gesture if the school management offers additional support. This extra support can be in the form of extended paid leaves, peer-to-peer feedback, and so on. Your sensitivity to their needs can help them bounce back as all of us appreciate such encouragement. Thus, additional support should be a part of the policymaking for schools.
To encapsulate, teacher burnout can be prevalent in all schools in varying magnitudes. The school administration should pay keen attention to resolving this issue in teachers. Further, not only it impacts the teachers but has a radiating effect on students as well as management. Besides, there are several causes of this burnout in educators that put them under considerable stress.
But there are various practical and easy to follow ways in which you can prevent teachers from burning out. As an administrator, you need to have empathy for your teachers and be approachable to them. At last, by being more positive, you can impart the same in your staff and bring out the best in them. Rethinking behaviour management in schools is the need of the hour.