Facing Burnout

I know I’m not alone when I say that it is difficult to get up and go to work some days. I could probably give any number of reasons, and I still know I’d have people agree with me.

Whether or not COVID restrictions still exist where you live, this is a side effect of being in the middle of the pandemic. As a society, we’ve established new norms and we’re working harder than ever. I know for me as a teacher, this school year is even harder than the last school year. Trying to teach fully in person after last year’s school year of being all over the place is pointing out a lot of flaws and holes in my classroom management abilities.

This, unfortunately, isn’t one of those posts that’s a how-to guide. I haven’t figured this out for myself yet either. But I know I’m not alone on these things. So if you’re looking for a surefire way to avoid burnout, then I suggest you find a different blog.

The harsh reality is that I’m facing burning out in a job I absolutely love. I love teaching. I really do. And I’m so grateful and fortunate that I work in a school where I love my coworkers and my administration team. I could not have gotten a better job! But my job isn’t just about the staff and my coworkers. It’s also a out my students. And this year, students all over the country (not just in my school) are having a harder time adjusting to doing work all day after all the chaos of last school year. My school has had 3 fights in 3 days recently.

For that reason and others, it is incredibly difficult to teach right now. The kids have so much apathy from basically being out of a real school setting. It’s so hard to enjoy what I do when the majority of people I want to share this knowledge with don’t care about anything. I never had to use personal days for a day off last year, and this year, I’m down to one left.

I’ve had to wrestle with this idea of being burnt out for a few weeks now. And like I said, I don’t have all the answers. But one thing I know for sure: when you’re feeling burnt out, you need to be kind to yourself. You’re not a superhero. You can’t do everything in one day. Dishes can be left in the sink, laundry can wait, and things of that nature. I’ve talked before about spoons. Sometimes you just don’t have the spoons you think you need. When those days hit or when you’re feeling burnt out, the worst thing you can do is force yourself to overwork on some way. You have to take time for yourself and understand that you are doing the best you can in that moment. Your “best” can easily change from day to day.

In addition, when I’m feeling burnt out, I try to find the reasons I started in the first place. Maybe an activity in a lesson turned out really well, or I saw students connect with the material, or an evaluation went well. It doesn’t have to be some big extravagant reason as to why you celebrate. Just find a way to find the light in an otherwise dark situation.

I know this is a little different and a little shorter than my normal posts lately, but this is what I’m focusing on right now. I’ve got 2 weeks until spring break, and I think I’m more ready for it than the kids are. So I have to find ways to cope and make sense of what in going through.

Again, I don’t have all the answers, and that’s okay. Life might suck right now. It doesn’t have to be wonderful all the time. That’s fine too. If you can’t fix the burnt out problem, then see what changed you can make to help you work through whatever you might be going through. Just know you’re not alone.

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