May 02, 2022



How to Stop Teacher Burnout by Beginning Where You Are 

As teachers leave the profession in droves, how to stop teacher burnout is on the minds of many… administrators struggling with filling positions and the teachers themselves who continue to struggle with the weight of burnout.  

But what does one do? 

Well, your first step isn’t looking at what’s happened in the past, nor is it predicting what may happen in the future.  Rather, it's looking close at where you are NOW. 

Welcome to episode 134 of the Burned-In Teacher Podcast. Before we dive into this episode, I want to let you know that, on the upcoming episodes of the podcast, you’re going to see flashback episodes. I've done this intentionally to review what Burned-In Teacher is and stands for specifically to help to guide you in your own journey out of burnout, especially before summer starts. 

In the months of May, June, July, and August, you're going to see a series of flashback episodes that are going to help you to truly understand what Burned-In Teacher means, stands for, and how you can apply these steps to your life.

In the upcoming episodes, you'll hear me talk about how, through the 2019 - 2020 school year, I decided each month I was going to dedicate to a step in the Burned-In Process. What I've done is strategically go back through episodes from 2019, and 2020 and I picked each episode where I explained each step of the Burned-In Process in detail. Then, I also picked an interview from a teacher or a solo episode that I did that dove a little bit deeper into what it means to apply that step to your life. I know these episodes are going to be helpful in supporting you to do something different at the end of this school year, even BEFORE the end of the school year, to help you to process and decide how you're going to step into next school year. 

In a recent previous episode, I put out a poll to my followers on Instagram, and more than 95% of the people who answered my poll said they're coming back to the classroom next year. So, this is the perfect time for me to help you to do something different, to begin to make a plan and create some better habits so that you are not just saying next year will be different, but you’re making sure that it will be. 

Also, I want to invite you to a workshop that I'm very, very excited about AND it’s totally free. It's going to be held on May 16. And you can go to to save your seat right away. It's called Heal Through Your Burnout: Key Steps You Must Take to Begin Healing Before the School Year is Over and a New One Begins. I refuse to ignore the fact that, when I was struggling with burnout, there were things that were very challenging that were actually within my control. That's where I truly believe that the Burned-In Process has saved my career. 

This year in education, I went through some very challenging personal and professional things, but I continued to come back to this process. I believe that the end of this school year is the perfect opportunity for us to make a decision that there are certain things that we will change about our current reality and our future reality. But in order to do that, we can't just close the door and forget about all of the things that happened this past school year and do nothing different over the summer to create new ways of believing, thinking, doing, and talking.  While I do believe that we should take some time to totally check out of teaching over the summer, I plan on doing that myself, I also believe there's a place to heal so that you can move forward with a vision, a plan, discipline, and intention. And that all comes from not just forgetting about -  or trying to forget about - how horrible or how challenging the school year was. It's okay to acknowledge those feelings, but then we need to shift our mindset to “What do I have control of? What can I do differently starting right NOW, this spring, before the school year is even over? What can I learn to help me to do things differently this summer to set future me up for success?” 

So, go to to save your seat. You will get more information before May 16 about this workshop and how you can join us live! 

So, without further ado, let's jump into episode 134, the flashback of Episode 41: Begin Where You are and Beat Teacher Burnout!

We’re going to start with Begin Where You Are. I have five steps that I'm going to encourage you to take this week where you can start to begin where you are and identify what has brought you to this place of burnout. 


5 Steps to Begin Where You Are

#1: Identify your Teacher Burnout Type

The first step is identifying what type of teacher burnout you're dealing with. If you’ve been a listener of The Burned-In Teacher Podcast for a while you've already taken the quiz, here's something really interesting… a member of the Burned-In Teacher Membership who has not only taken the quiz once, she’s actually taken it twice! When she took the quiz last spring, she identified as one burnout type and when she took the quiz after going through The Burned-In Process she now identifies with a different type. As you've heard me talk about before, burnout doesn't come once and then goes away.  Taking the quiz is a great place to start if you find yourself struggling with different situations and different triggers that could be causing you to feel burnout again. 

This quiz that I created for you is very short - it’s only 6 questions and only takes about 3 minutes to take! When you take the quiz, you’ll find out if you are one of these 4 different burnout types: 

  • Burned and Bored: This is where you aren’t really frustrated, but you feel under-challenged and like you aren’t meeting your potential. 
  • Burned and Unbalanced: (this is the most popular response) This means that you’re struggling with being able to balance it all. 
  • Burned and Over-It: This is where you’ve been surrounded with so much negativity, and apathy and you find yourself saying things like, “No matter how hard I work, it doesn’t matter…”
  • Not Burned-Out, Just Need a Slight Adjustment: This means that you aren’t quite feeling burned-out yet, but you know that something is off. 


#2: Identify your stage of teacher burnout

The next step is identifying the stage of teacher burnout that you are in. I’ve broken down burnout into six different stages.  They are: 

  • Stage 0: Burned-Out
  • Stage 1: Build Your Spark
  • Stage 2: Build Your Ignition
  • Stage 3: Build Your Flame
  • Stage 4: Build Your Fire
  • Stage 5: BURNED-IN


When identifying your stage of burnout, consider what you’ve done, what you are currently doing, and your current thoughts.  To help you identify your burnout stage, I created a FREE resource in my Teachers Pay Teachers store called the Stages eBook.  This resource will walk you through how to determine your stage of burnout and also what actions you can take to move onto the next stage on your way to becoming BURNED-IN! 

The actions for step #1 (take the Burnout Type Quiz) and step #2 (identify your stage of burnout) have been really powerful experiences for teachers that I have worked with.  Being able to name how they are feeling and identifying where they are at on their journey out of burnout is empowering. 


#3: Reflect on how long you’ve been where you are (both physically and emotionally)

Next, you're going to ask yourself this question: “How long have I been in this place?” I’m referring to physical as well as metaphorical.  Ask yourself reflection questions like: 

  • How long have I been in the grade level?
  • How long have I worked in this building? 
  • How long have I been in this district? 
  • How long have I worked for this principal? 
  • How long have I physically been in this classroom? 
  • How long have I felt this way? 
  • When did I have my first twinge of burnout? 
  • When did I first start questioning my choice to become a teacher?
  • What is it that happened that brought me to this place? 

We've got to dig deep into the reasons why we got to this place so that we can take the appropriate action steps. I'm all about self-care, but self-care is also taking ACTION and taking care of yourself by really paying close attention and doing things you've never done in order to get yourself out of this place of burnout. 


#4: Identify your people. 

Step four is to identify who your people are. This step is important because, in the upcoming steps in the Burned-In Process, we are going to continually come back to “your people”. 

Your people are who you want the changes that you’re making to have the biggest impact on. These could be your students, your administrator, or your colleagues. Think about who you need to work on building a bridge with rather than a wall. 


#5: Identify your core values.

The last step is determining your core values. These are the values that you come back to when you need to make a tough decision or when things just get hard.  Brene Brown suggests that you choose two core values, and there are hundreds of words that you can choose from! If you are struggling with coming up with words, you can do a quick Google search for “core values” to get a list.  My words this year are “empowerment” and “compassion”, both of which are what I strive to do on the podcast. 

My goal is to empower you and I also want to show you compassion because I have been there - I’ve been where you are. I have cried in my car on the way to work. I have felt ashamed and isolated and stuck. But then I decided that I'm going to empower myself by doing research and taking ACTION, and that's exactly what I want for you. 

Once you identify your core values, write them down and put them in a place where you can see them every day so that you continually come back to them. 


So there you have it!  Your five steps to begin where you are and beat teacher burnout in 2019! 

I want to leave you with this piece of advice…

As you go into your week and the Agent of Same Perfection Patti starts creeping in and saying, “If this isn't PERFECT, it's not good enough to use,” call on the Agent of Change Try It Out Trevor and tell yourself, “I am brave enough to try new things, make mistakes and learn from them.” As you're trying these things you've never tried before to get out of burnout, talk positively to yourself.


Now it’s time for an Ask BIT question! 

The question this week is: How should a teacher handle overwhelm when there is too much to be done and too little time?”

This is just the question of the century, right?

There's always - even in our personal lives - so much to be done and not enough time. 

So, what I want you to do is think about your weekly and even monthly habits of setting yourself up for success.  My favorite practice is, at the end of each month, I always look ahead to the month that's coming up to see what’s already scheduled and/or coming up. These are the big, main events that I need to make sure that I’m aware of.

After I do that, there's a weekly practice that I have done for years that has saved my sanity (both personally and professionally). 

Every Sunday (or Saturday sometimes) I sit down and write down all of the things that I need to accomplish for that week. If it's for home - I think about phone calls I need to make, emails that I need to send, appointments that are coming up, bills I need to pay, or something that needs to be cleaned/fixed.  It could be any number of things.  I dump all of these tasks into one big list, which is where a lot of people stop, but I choose to get really strategic and determine WHEN I’m going to complete each task and I add them to my calendar. I plan out the things that are important to me and that are the highest priority across the week. Planning ahead and being intentional about when you’re going to get things done is super impactful.

You can even apply this strategy to school too!  You can do this on Friday before you leave, which I definitely recommend so that you don't fall victim to those nasty Sunday-Scaries. That's something that I don't worry about anymore because I never leave school on Friday without being prepared for Monday because I know that the most important things are done. Does that mean everything's done? Absolutely not.

I have been applying this strategy for years and focusing on only the most important things that need to get done. I have simplified my teaching life A LOT. By being disciplined and sitting down each week and thinking about what needs to be done, you’re setting your future self up for success. These could be things like grades that need to be entered, conferences that are coming up, phone calls/emails you need to send, things that need to be turned in to the central office, etc… 

One thing I found out from this practice is that when I have all these things jumbling around in my head and I'm telling myself that all these things HAVE to be done (which in most cases is a lie) I am freaking myself out! This is what I call the “lizard brain”, which is this part of our brain that is always negative and immediately jumps to that “doomsday” thinking. To calm my “lizard brain”, I’ve created a rebuttal statement that reminds me that DOESN’T have to be done and even that it either doesn't have to be done at all or it doesn't have to be done by me. 

Maybe, there is a task that truly has to be done, but you don’t want to do it.  Then, I encourage you to make that task your number one priority so you don't have to think about it and dread it. for me, it's entering grades - that is NOT my favorite. I know that many of you out there would agree, but we know it has to be done. So, that's probably going to be the first thing that I'm going to get done.

Also, I typically plan for the following week by Wednesday of the week before. And I have refined this practice over the last couple of years. I’m able to do this because I've let go of a lot of things and I  hyper-focus on what is of highest priority for me and for my students' success. With this practice will come refinements, simplification, elimination, delegation, and all that good stuff that comes with time management that I cover inside of Burned-In Teacher University

So, friends, that’s it for today’s episode! Until next week, take a deep breath because you just took another step toward becoming a Burned-In teacher.



  1. Identify your Burnout Type.  CLICK HERE to take the quiz to not only determine your burnout type but to get actionable steps for your specific burnout. 
  2. Determine your core values.  Pick two that are most important to you and post them somewhere you can see them daily!
  3. Register for my FREE masterclass - Heal Through Your Burnout Masterclass. CLICK HERE to reserve your spot. 



Click here to reserve your spot in my masterclass: Heal Through Your Burnout



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