Burnout and stress have become frighteningly common among teachers, blighting what ought to be one of the most rewarding career paths.
75% of teaching and education staff report experiencing stress in the last two years, and a quarter of teachers have had to seek medical help in the last year since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
It doesn’t have to be this way, and it shouldn’t be. Teachers deserve to thrive in their jobs, and children deserve to learn from contented, able professionals.
Protocol Education exists to serve educators, and we believe that mental health is paramount. Here are a few ways to prevent burnout, relieve stress and flourish as a teacher.
1. Be vigilant about the red flags of burnout
Teachers do not suddenly wake up one morning burnt out. The pressures of the job can wear away you slowly until it becomes impossible to function day-to-day.
Prevention is the best cure here, so keep an eye out for the warning signs.
Education expert Victoria Hewitt has proposed three major red flags here to look out for. These are:
· Depersonalisation and increasing sense of jadedness and detachment from the job.
· Reduced performance thanks to a relentless sense of malaise and negativity.
· Exhaustion in both a physical and emotional sense.
If any of these chime with you, it’s time to take action.
2. Re-order your workload and habits
When your primary focus is your pupils, it is easy to lose sight of your own needs. But your pupils’ success relies on you working and functioning effectively.
Teachers can fall into a trap of clocking up long evenings spent in school just to prove themselves. Dr Emma Kell calls this “the scourge of presenteeism”, and it drives people to go headfirst into “full-on burnout [rather] than admit that you’re being fuelled by insecurity and contagious, poor working practices”.
If you consistently volunteer to take on excessive amounts of work, then it might be time to take a step back and examine if you are setting yourself on a path to burnout.
3. Seek help
Your pupils should never have to suffer in silence, and nor should you. You have a duty to protect your own health.
If you really feel like things have become untenable, it might be worth booking in some time with your GP to discuss ways forward.
Alternatively, Education Support offer free, 24-hour telephone support and counselling through their helpline (0800 562 561 or 07909 341 229 by text).
4. Find a new job at a different school
If your school is poorly-equipped to deal with wellbeing issues among staff, a change of role may be the only route left.
As a market-leading educational recruitment company, Protocol Edcation is ready and waiting to help you find a new job you’ll love at a school better suited to your needs. We have roles available at thousands of primary and secondary schools for teachers of all subjects.
We can help you beat burnout and find a way to love teaching again. All you have to do is get in touch with our specialist teaching recruiters today.