Burnout

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by pandaexpress112, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. pandaexpress112

    pandaexpress112 New Member

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    Jun 4, 2013

    Hi,

    I am considering whether or not teaching elementary school is right for me. I teach 4th grade and it seems like every year, I start off strong, confident, and really enjoying my job. This lasts for several months -- I feel effective and I'm not overly stressed. Then, once March hits, I seem to lose my energy, patience, as well as the ability to cope. The behaviors in my classroom get worse and I start feeling burned out and unable to manage. By June, I am completely burnt out, mainly because the kids in my class tend to really act out toward the end. By the end of the school year, it's hard for me to even go to work in the morning and I fall asleep by 6:00pm. It really seems like this pattern I cannot break. We only have a few days left of school and I literally have no energy or strength to even go. A few months ago, I was doing fine. I just wish I could get through a school year without completely burning out at the end. Maybe this is just normal, I don't know.

    Thanks for any suggestions.
     
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  3. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Jun 4, 2013

    Is there anything in your management techniques that is allowing the students to act out so much this time of the year?

    I definitely have a much shorter fuse towards the end of the year. This year around May I noticed my co-teacher and I were becoming a lot more lax about holding student to rules and enforcing consequences. I quickly realized that if we lightened up at this time of the year things would quickly get out of control. It's one thing when they're a little out of control in September. But when things get out of control in the 100 degree classroom with kids you've been stuck with for 100 something days, its bad. So I've learned you need to be just as strict as you are the first few weeks when they're still learning the rules at the end of the year so they know the rules will be enforced right up until the end of the year. Having a lot of fun activities planned that students need to "earn" is worth it too. Right now my students are working with partners on research projects. Students who work together and complete their research will be allowed to design diagrams, posters, put on skits, etc. They got right to work today when they knew they could earn time spent on a fun activity.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 4, 2013

    Most teachers I know, including myself, have a dip in energy and motivation once the second semester rolls around, sometime in February or March. Most teachers usually manage to get things back on track fairly quickly, though. Why do you think you're not able to get back on track? Are you overwhelmed with paperwork? Depressed? Anxious about testing? Is the problem with your school or grade level? Do your colleagues have similar problems?
     
  5. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Jun 4, 2013

    I always burn out right around midyear and at the very end. It's exhausting, but normal. Right now we're 4 weeks away from our "winter" break and I don't think I could wait a day longer! Definitely needing a break right now. And I know I'll be looking forward to the end of the year in December!
     
  6. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    Jun 5, 2013

    Don't be afraid to take a day or two off. We all need mental health days.
     
  7. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Jun 9, 2013

    I'm familiar with this feeling and have also questioned myself about it (is this normal? Maybe teaching is just not my thing?) I try to re-energize myself by finding new ideas to try, which often works. Starting a new project with the kids, a new behavior-related contest, or even a new teacher-book in my bathroom at home. I also try to (internally, without changing my real standards) understand what the kids are going through at this time of year and accept that they have half their brains out the window and off to summer camp already. Helps me not to take the distractions too personally, while at the same time planning how to hook them back in - this is the time of year to bring on the most motivating topics and any little surprises you have saved up.

    As burnt out as I feel some days, I know my heart is still in it when just the thought of next September is already exciting to me, and summer hasn't even started yet here! As I'm drafting my end-of-year letter, part of my mind is composing next year's introduction letter.
     
  8. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jun 9, 2013

    We only have a week and a half more of classes but I am so ready for summer. By the way, you say you go to sleep at six and that seems very odd to me. I get exhausted too but nap and am usually up by 6:30 and then go back to bed like 10:30 pr so. Are you taking vitamins? Have you seen a doctor?
     
  9. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Jun 9, 2013

    Have you always taught 4th? That age has the potential to be challenging in the spring. Perhaps switching to a younger grade may be the shake up you need. Hang in there and get lots of R & R over the summer.
    P.S. I think some of what you mentioned is part of the "annual cycle of a teacher" and is fairly common :)
     
  10. msufan

    msufan Comrade

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    Jun 9, 2013

    EXACTLY THIS. I hit rock bottom every year in late February, just like clockwork, but I recover as the weather finally warms soon after that.
     
  11. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jun 9, 2013

    I have developed a mathematical theorem for students (mis)behavior: Student voice volumes are directly and inversely proportional to the number of school days left in the school year. The closer to the end of school (especially after testing and field day), the louder they get! LOL
     

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