Burnout

Discussion in 'General Education' started by miss tree, Jun 20, 2010.

  1. miss tree

    miss tree Rookie

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    Jun 20, 2010

    I have recently left my job due to burnout. It got to the point where I physically had to force myself to enter a classroom. I was stressed and miserable all the time and spent every spare moment thinking about leaving. There were many factors involved, but much of it came down to sheer exhaustion. As everyone would know, it's impossible to teach properly when you just don't have the energy to stay on top of a class.

    I haven't given up on the teacing profession altogether, I just think I need a long break from it. I was wondering if there are other teachers who have stepped away from teaching for a couple of years and come back with a fresh perspective? Or should I just start looking for a new career now?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 20, 2010

    What is it that exhausted you? I think we would all admit that teaching is a job that is multi-faceted, that teachers keep 'many balls in the air' and that we must find ways to balance our professional demands with a personal life. What specifically was it that exhausted you and burnt you out? The 'exhausting' issues may still be present after a few years' off...what would you do then? You'll have to do some thinking about this and decide if these are issues you can 'work out' and whether this profession is really for you or not-
     
  4. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jun 20, 2010

    My first year nearly killed me with stress and anxiety; I was depressed and crying and even worse-- my hair started to fall out during the last months of school! It's amazing what one summer can do for you as a teacher. You get recharged, you spend time learning how to improve in areas that will benefit you as an educator and your students too.

    I think every profession has many stressors-- but its how you fix the problem/issue (or even learn to deal with it and let it go) that will eventually let you be okay with things.

    If I were in your shoes, I would spend the summer really searching if teaching is something I could do and try to figure out what I need to to make things better. For example, I switched mentors this year and it made things a hundred times better for me! One change can make a huge difference. :)
     
  5. hac711

    hac711 Companion

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    Jun 20, 2010

    I get burned out right before Christmas and right now before school lets out (4 more days!!). It's natural. Our jobs are stressful and time-consuming, with not a lot of gratitude and sometimes a lot of scrutiny. Have you thought about maybe switching to a single subject, like math or English? I found out when I taught a single subject in high school that it was less stressful teaching high schoolers one subject than teaching little guys 7 subjects. Maybe you just need to switch that?? I understand the burnout, and if you really feel like a career switch, then go for it. You can always go back to teaching if you miss it.
     
  6. Tongo

    Tongo Rookie

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    Jun 20, 2010

    I feel the same way Miss Tree. Ive been teaching for 6 months now and I´m wondering the same: It is really teaching what I´ll do the rest of my life? I looooved the idea of teaching arts and helping kids to discover their sensible side but after months of endless paperwork, hectic classes, and more than seven hundred students per week I had never looked foward a break as much as I do now (and if I see one more kid nagging me Ill scream:lol::lol:) There are some teacher saying that your first year is the worst and I really hope this is going to be my case too. SO what I´ll do is Im going to come back to school and give myself and the kids another chance. If the situation doesn´t improve a bit by then I´ll check differents jobs. The thing is I don´t wanna give up that easily. Id also love to know from those teachers who got a tough start, How do they hold on there?? What is the secret to get better without going mad??
     
  7. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    Jun 20, 2010

    As a fellow specialist I totally understand. You are dealing with hundreds of students of varying abilities and with varying behaviors. Learning names alone can be enough to put you over the edge. :lol: If you are an elementary teacher you are also dealing with multiple teachers and their personalities. When it comes time to do grades it may seem endless too. It can be very difficult to juggle all those things. It does get better. You will develop systems that makes things go smoother. You will find your nitch in the school or find that maybe you need to move on. You have to find the right age of students for you and the right feel of the school. Good luck! :hugs:
     
  8. miss tree

    miss tree Rookie

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    Jun 21, 2010

    By 'burnout' I mean extreme exhaustion and a complete lack of motivation to keep all the balls in the air, because of my feelings that it just wasn't worth it due to both student apathy and unrealistic demands from my supervisor.

    I came to intensely resent the amount of time teaching sucked from my personal life, and the fact that in this profession there is never any 'downtime' to catch up and regenerate. I am in awe of teachers who can do this job year after year, but I know that I'm not one of them.

    I am an introvert by nature and for people like me social interactions are extremely draining. I really don't know if I even like teaching or want to return, but I will probably give it another chance in a couple of years to find out.

    I have seen enough burnout, drained teachers who are only there because they are trapped and see no way out, and I do not want to become like them. Life is too short and students deserve teachers who have a passion for what they do. Although I've coped some flak for my decision to leave, and will probably face a major financial backlash in the near future, I haven't felt happier in a long time.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 21, 2010

    Big picture: that's what really matters!!!

    I love teaching. I've been doing it since before a LOT of people on this board were born. It's something I'm good at.

    But it's not right for everyone. And if you're one of the people for whom it's not right, you shouldn't be doing it. It' simply not worth the physical and emotional toll.

    Find the next few months-- or years if that's what it takes-- finding the career that makes you feel the way I do about teaching.
     
  10. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jun 21, 2010

    I think you should go with your heart. If you feel you don't need to be in the classroom right now, I think that's a wise and brave decision. If you do come back, you might want to look into a change, a different grade, a different school, a different subject, just something new. I've had stressful moments, and stressed out days, but not to the point that you talk about. I hope that if I ever do reach that point, I am as brave as you. I wish you the best of luck!!!
     
  11. Starista

    Starista Cohort

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    Jun 21, 2010

    My very first year teaching I went through similar feelings.

    I would constantly question "is this for me.."

    My undergrad is not in Education so perhaps lack of proper training was due to that for my case? I am not sure? I've also always been a person who's had a difficult time making choices and decisions, so that doesn't help.

    I will say this... next year will be my 10th year teaching and I love every second of it. I gave myself another few years to truly determine if it was right for me.

    Hope this helps. :)
     
  12. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

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    Jun 21, 2010

    I'm not sure you get "proper training" until you're in the classroom. Educational programs at my school are mostly "research-based" pedagogy practices from professors who haven't been in the classroom since the 80s.

    I think a move towards an apprenticeship-style teacher program would do wonders for prepping our next generation teachers.
     
  13. 100%Canadian

    100%Canadian Companion

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    Jun 21, 2010

    Sounds to me like you've already made up your mind. What I like most about this job is that it changes from year to year with new kids; there's also opportunities to change grades and/or schools - this keep things fresh. I wouldn't base the profession on a bad class/school/administrator because there are far better places to go out there. I understand the burnout thing and I feel for you; we've all been there to some degree. If there's opportunity to change, take advantage of it.

    That being said, if you can't find a reason to make it stick, then it's time to find something else. You indicated that you weren't sure if teaching was for you; that tells me it's time to find a new career.

    To quote the Life is Good line: "Do what you like, like what you do." Good luck!
     
  14. atomic

    atomic Companion

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    Jun 21, 2010

    I used to think...if I crashed my car into the median, I won't have to go to work today and teach third year Algebra students the FOIL method again!

    That's when I knew I needed to switch schools. :)

    Although, some days i still hope that a power outage will close school.
     
  15. atomic

    atomic Companion

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    Jun 21, 2010

    Or maybe extreme heat...
     
  16. demijasmom

    demijasmom Companion

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    Jun 21, 2010

    MissTree I totally understand how you feel, I had to force myself to go to work and my stomach would hurt every morning. I started to question myself is teaching right for me? There were days that I would cry, because I didn't want to go to work. I would often say I'm done, I don't want to this(teaching). OMG!! Atomic, I used to sit on the edge of the bed every morning and hope there would be a power outage at the school or no heat. I have been reflecting. I do want to teach. I love teaching.100% Canadian, after I read your post. I agree not to base the profession on a bad class/school/administrator.
     
  17. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Jun 21, 2010

    You really need to sit down and think about every aspect. For instance, if you say that teaching is taking too much of your personal life, look at why that is. Are you taking work home? Are you thinking/worrying about it when you are home? Are there things that you could have done more efficiently? I know that if I wanted to, I could do something school-related all the time. However, I had to learn that many things that I thought were urgent were really things that could wait.

    Are you physically ill? Maybe you could function better with medication. I work with several people who are on medication for anxiety and depression. Some were on them long before teaching, and some have gone on them since starting teaching. One co-worker had to go home one year because "that class" was just too much when combined with some other life changes she had going on at the time. She came back and did fine.

    Look around the school. How are other people doing with the "apathetic students" and the "unrealistic expectations from supervisors"? If everyone in the building is in the same boat that you are, then I'd suggest trying a different district or school. I other people are handling the situation well, what is it that they are doing differently than you? Can you talk with them? Can you watch them teach?

    Of course, there is nothing wrong with changing careers either. If you really don't think you want to teach, find something else. Or maybe you could sub for a year or take a leave of absence.
     
  18. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Jun 21, 2010

    miss tree, I think you made a healthy decision for yourself.

    I don't mean to laugh but LOL. I'm extremely passionate about teaching, but was at the wrong school. When I was feeling like I'd rather drive my car off a bridge, I knew it was time to resign.
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 22, 2010


    That made me laugh out loud!

    OK, I think that any job that makes you consider physical violence is probaly NOT the right place to be.
     
  20. miss tree

    miss tree Rookie

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    Jun 22, 2010


    I can relate to this. When I started thinking about car accidents and feeling jealous of colleagues who were genuinely ill, I knew it was time to go.

    I only just started this job a couple of months ago (I'm from Australia and we're only halfway through the school year). I knew from the start it was a bad fit, but I also knew that I was exhausted and needed a break. I simply can't function when I'm tired and I believe that with a good long break I will see things completely differently.

    I have relinquished my position at my current school, but I have up to 2 years to take up another job with the department, which gives me a nice bit of breathing space.

    I find the regimented nature of teaching very hard to deal with and I'm looking forward to a job where I have more freedom and space to pursue my own creative interests outside school.

    Thanks for the advice and enjoy the summer break US teachers - you sure deserve it!
     
  21. atomic

    atomic Companion

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    Jun 22, 2010

    Wow. I thought I was the only one that thought about stuff like that.

    I had a student last week to was all PO'ed about getting fired. This week he admitted that he should have just quit when he started being rude to customers. It's the same thing with us.

    I did stick it out at my school. We started a family, bought a house(at the height of the market). I truly am stuck in teaching for now. Mortgage is upside down by about $50,000. No one will touch a refi with that much negative equity and I don't blame them.

    But I don't regret it, classes have gotten better. I've gotten better with my routine and I can make my bills. A lot of my friends can't say the same.

    As much as the admin preaches about staying away from routines, I think they help keep me and my students going.

    I don't grade every single assignment and only go through the tedious process of partial credit for some of the biggies.

    You do need a break now and again to catch up and recharge. Those that dont teach don't understand why summers are so important.

    Good luck to you.
     
  22. Tongo

    Tongo Rookie

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    Jun 23, 2010

    Wow, I though that I was just me who got that worry about going to school. I feel so relieved when I read all the posts. All my co-workers look so self-confident and skillful that I had started to think there was something wrong with me. Now I think they´re just pretending :D:D
     
  23. gizmo2010

    gizmo2010 Rookie

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    I taught for 6 years and felt the way you do. I left the profession for 7 years while I stayed home and took care of my young children. I have NEVER regretted that choice. I have been back in the profession for 11 years now and I know I am the best teacher I could possibly be because I had that break. I know this is the only profession for me. I would have been miserable if I had stayed. It sounds like you need to try another school with a different administration. I have worked at schools that had devils for principals. They gave me no respect and had "pets" that got all the good kids and were praised constantly. I absolutely hated working for that one principal. It made me doubt myself and feel incompetent. I had to always remind myself of my favorite quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, "No one can make you feel inadequate unless you allow them".
     
  24. gizmo2010

    gizmo2010 Rookie

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    Jun 23, 2010

    Tongo, I have discovered EVERYONE plays the game! Everyone talks about everyone and will cut your throat in a minute to have favor with the boss/principal. Teachers can be awesome to work with but they are also very catty!
     
  25. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Jun 23, 2010

    Unbeknownst -
    Teaching is a second career for me. My undergrad was not in ed either. I did Adult Ed program to get my teaching credentials, so my teacher education is not as thorough as those of you who went thru college in a teaching program. I have felt at times that I missed some important things by going the route I did, but my experience over the past few years leads me to agree with you - apprenticeship (paid) makes sense. I spent my first year as a licensed teacher doing long term subs, per diem subs, and even a homebound teacher stint. I learned much from each situation - especially the long term subs. I tell people I went from student teaching to teaching with training wheels before I finally became an employed teacher. I've even advised my practicum students to consider spending their first year (if they can afford it) working as a sub. They will get to see how various schools districts work, maybe decide on a specific age group, learn the ropes without all the responsibilities a full-time teacher has. My confidence grew with each placement, especially when one of the schools asked me back for a second long-term sub position.
     

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