Teacher burnout can happen at any age. Most people picture an elderly woman with a bun perched on top of her head. She drags herself through the day and puts in as little effort as possible. The only time she moves quickly is when she exits the building when the final bell rings. Her trouser socks are hanging down over swollen ankles. She is abrupt to everyone and refuses to use technology. Her lesson plans remain the same year after year.
When does burnout begin? If the job is no longer fun and becomes unmanageable, it's time to make some major adjustments. Make a list of all of the goods and the bads. Look at priorities. Rearrange your life. Schedule yourself differently.
I realized that I had a problem when teaching was all I did. Burnout can happen to anyone at any age if boundaries aren't set so that the person inside you has a chance to breathe.
One of the best things that I did to avoid teacher burnout happened over fifteen years ago. One of my friends started working out at a gym and told me that I needed to join. At first, I told her that I was too busy doing school work. I was one of those teachers who stayed until dark every day. She convinced me that I could do it. Eventually, I started leaving school on time every Tuesday and Thursday to go to aerobic classes. I felt energized and graded papers at home.
The other thing that really helped me was to rearrange my life. I realized that I was way too social to get work done after my students went home. Most of the time I was just visiting with my friends. Sure, we talked about school related stuff, but my work just piled up on my desk. I started leaving school on time with my papers in my book bag. After my own children were in bed, I sat quietly by myself and was able to grade papers. I also found that a lot of my really good ideas for lessons came to me when I was getting ready for work or driving. Keeping a spiral and pen handy and jotting down ideas (at stop lights, of course) made more sense to me than sitting behind my desk at school.
Taking a look at my priorities and making adjustments to my schedule helped me to stay on top of my game. My trouser socks still gathered around my tired feet, but I was happier, laughed with my students, and faced technology square in the face. No backing down for Bee.