The First Step in Becoming Burned-In is Admitting That You Are Burned-Out: Turning Shame into Sharp Focus

Step 1: Admit That  You Are Burned Out

When I was feeling burned-out and hating life, I felt 100% alone and isolated. I didn't feel that it was acceptable to feel the feelings that I was feeling. I didn't talk to anyone about them, even my husband, because he was sick of hearing it. I knew that I was an awesome teacher. Students, other teachers, and parents told me all the time. They showered me with gifts and compliments, and although it used to fuel my fire, I then found myself numb to it. 

It wasn't until I started doing some Google searches that I realized that, not only were other teachers feeling the same way, there was actual research being done about it. Now, until the last few weeks, I had skimmed some of the articles and then closed out thinking, "Okay, I'm not alone, but these people are full of sh@#!"

Recently, I have been doing some deep research about being burned-out online and it is helping me so much! I am becoming sharply focused on my attitude and behaviors as a burned-in teacher. After reading eight articles (you will find the links below), here are the biggest take-aways that I have for you to reflect on about YOURSELF as an educator:

Potential Causes of Teacher Burn-Out:
1. Your students don't seem to care.
2. You feel you are disciplining more than teaching.
3. The pressure to perform is high and your workload is even higher.
4. You are experiencing constant changes in expectations and standards.
5. You feel you are being over-evaluated.
6. You are constantly dealing with colleagues who are less then fun to work with.
7. You have low self-esteem.
8. You are working for administrators who are terrible managers.
9. You are confused about your role as a teacher.
10. Your working conditions are bad.

Signs You are Burned-Out:
1. You take a lot of days off of work
2. You don't share or seek great ideas.
3. When you do converse, you are complaining.
4. You have lost that "spark".
5. You are exhausted.
6. You rarely smile or laugh (especially at school).
7. You are anxious.
8. You feel overwhelmed.
9. You seek collaboration and can't find anyone willing to work with you.
10. You isolate yourself.
11. You feel that everything is an emergency.
12. You feel numb to feeling any emotions for students or other teachers.
13. You take forever to get out of bed to go to work.
14. You despise staying after school to do work in the classroom.
15. You feel severe annoyance about every little thing.
16. You use planning time to search for jobs outside of education.

Step 2: Take Action

Possible Solutions:
1. Be more playful.
2. Be present in your teaching.
3. Decide what you want to be and who you want to be.
4. Be an actor. (Fake it!)
5. Embrace the uncertainty.
6. Find balance.
7. Search yourself. What do YOU love to do?
8. Grow relationships in and out of school.
9. Show gratitude.
10. Heal. Know these feelings will pass if you want them to and you will come out stronger.

Find Inspiration:
1. Google 'Teacher Burn-Out'. Read about burnout and solutions.
2. Find TED-ed Talks.
3. Find a hashtag on twitter that inspires you or find great people to follow. (follow me on Twitter @burnedinteacher)
4. Find funny teacher memes.
5. Find a group of teachers online to share triumphs with.
6. Decide what is important to you and what is not.
7.Plan activities in your off time that have nothing to do with teaching.


I hope that recognizing the signs is helpful to you and your journey to become burned-in again. Now, take the next step and TAKE ACTION! For me, taking action is simply enjoying my summer vacation with no thoughts about school for weeks on end. I love my school and my kids, but I am done for now.

FYI: There are MANY more articles out there on the topic of 'Teacher Burn-Out'. I strongly encourage you to read all you can about it. I am finding new articles every day. They are extremely confirming and refreshing to read. Plus, you may find out (after reading about someone else's teaching life) that you don't have it nearly as bad as you think you do. 

Email me signs that you know you are burned-out. Tell me about your situation. Share your shame so you can become sharply focused on fixing this. You can become burned-in again!

Burn on!