5 ways in which School Leaders can work to prevent Teacher Burnout

Burnout is a form of exhaustion caused by feeling swamped by work. It is a sign of stress. It is often caused by prolonged and excessive mental, physical and emotional stress. In many cases, burnout is related to excessive workload and prolonged feeling of being swamped. Burnout usually happens when a person is emotionally drained, feels overburdened and overwhelmed with excessive work, and is unable to contain their anger. Usually, a person shows physical signs of burnout like feeling irritability, unfriendly, or rude answers, chronic fatigue, exhaustion from work, change in appetite, signs of insomnia, anger bursts outs, and much more.

A Burnout is a syndrome, not a medical diagnosis that is caused by chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. 
-According to the research done by WHO (World Health Organization)

What is a Teacher Burnout?

Teacher Burnout is related to a school teacher, and it is a psychological condition that leads to exhaustion, decrease in the self-worth of a teacher, feeling irritability, unfriendly or rude answers, chronic fatigue, exhaustion from work, change in appetite, signs of insomnia, anger bursts outs, and much more. Poor school funding, dealing with difficult students and their parents, classroom management issues, work overload, excessive working hours, and many more such situations. A teacher Burnout usually results in the teacher leaving the profession, changing the place of work, or getting traumatic attacks. Usually, external factors like workplace dysfunction, toxic co-workers, improper or ill-treatment with the teacher are a few of the causes of teacher burnout.

What are the stages of a Teacher Burnout?

Usually, there are 5 known stages of Teacher Burnout :

  • The Initial Phase – The honeymoon phase is usually a part of feeling optimistic about energy levels. A person is unable to figure out about the changes with themselves in the initial stage of burnout.
  • The Onset-of Stress Phase – This is the phase where a person or a teacher usually starts to feel the uneasy symptoms of a burnout. Stress attacks starts to show up. Not every moment of life is stressful, but there are frequent attacks of stress in the moments when the person/teacher seems to be left alone with his/her thoughts.
  • The Chronic Stress Phase – In this phase a person/teacher starts to get panic attacks or stress attacks more often. Like for instance, a teacher may get a chronic stress attck for not completing the syllabus on time, being late for work, getting frequently into arguments and much more.
  • The Burnout Phase – This is the phase when a person/teacher is unable to contain stress and starts to feel irritability, unfriendly, or gives rude answers, chronic fatigue, exhaustion from work, change in appetite, signs of insomnia, anger bursts outs, and much more.
  • The Habitual Burnout Phase – This is the phase where burnouts become a part of daily lives if left untreated, unattended, or unanswered. In this phase even the employment or the job retention becomes difficult.

Usually, the best option for the teacher for managing class discipline, handling students well, conveying messages, is the leader of the school or the authoritative personnel. School leaders can help in preventing teacher burnouts in many ways. In this article, we will discuss the 5 ways in which a school leader can work to prevent Teacher Burnout. These ways are mentioned below :

1. Providing means to maintain a work-life and personal-life balance.

A school leader should provide the staff i.e mainly teachers, with the means to maintain a work-life and personal-life balance like arranging seminars with experts and life coaches, allowing teachers to have breaks in between classes, arranging stress-busting activities in the school premises, and much more. A good school leader with calm and composed nature can help in preventing teacher burnout.

2. Encouraging healthy relation-building and collaboration.

Support from other staff members or fellow teachers is very much important in preventing teacher burnout. Fostering a trustworthy relationship with other teachers and discussing the difficulties that a teacher is facing can be a good way for stress-busting. For instance, a teacher can ask for help from colleagues in difficult situations like working out the curriculum, explaining certain topics, or any help regarding the teaching part. Building healthy relations with colleagues can help the school in building an overall positive climate and a good hint to students to also collaborate.

3. Supporting new staff members or newly recruited teachers.

Newly recruited teachers require extra support from the school leaders, colleagues, and the entire staff to understand the working method and to get involved with the organization. School leaders should pair the rookie teacher with the veteran teacher for encouraging the new teacher to learn new teaching techniques, the school’s method of planning the curriculum, and much more. School leaders should make sure that the newly appointed teachers are adjusting well and provide them with all the help and support they require.

4. Discussing it openly about the burnout and providing required help.

A school leader should discuss and reach out to the teachers who show such symptoms of burnout. Instead of blaming the teacher for the burnout, a good leader should provide the required help and mental health support to prevent burnout attacks in the future.

5. Planning group activities for the teachers community.

A good school leader should provide opportunities for the teachers to form a community where they can enjoy their time, discuss their problems or issues, follow their hobbies, go out on field trips, and much more. In this way, teachers can also get a break from work and stress which in turn prevents teacher burnout.

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