For most teachers up and down the country right now the garden is rosy and the mood is positive.
Okay, that’s not strictly true. We should not forget that for some teachers the start of term will be anything but the above. If the practicalities of funding cuts or the aftermath of disappointing exam results are looming large, the start of the new academic year won’t bring many reasons to be cheerful with it.
However, most teachers would probably agree that in September the garden looks rosier than normal and there’s more positivity around the place.
It’s a new start, a fresh slate and another opportunity to make a difference.
And, even if you’re not totally energised about the forthcoming year, at least you’ve got more energy than usual after recharging the batteries over the summer break.
Now, you just need to make sure that it doesn’t come tumbling down.
You need to avoid teacher burnout.
Don’t make excuses and don’t avoid the issue
There’s a wealth of advice out there about how to avoid burnout, from ’25 Tips to Reduce Teacher Burnout’ to ‘Five Ways to Prevent Teacher Burnout’, you’ll find a whole host of articles to read on the topic.
As with most things, some of the advice will be great. Some of it might seem useless and some indifferent. But the important thing to remember is this: it’s virtually impossible to find a single article that will offer you the perfect solution or an off the shelf fix for the risk of teacher burnout.
Whether there are 25 tips or 5 tips, they are probably not all going to apply to you, your personal circumstances or the context of the school you are working in.
For example, getting to work early – before the madness begins and the kids arrive – is generally good advice. If gives you the opportunity to get more tasks done, get things sorted and set up and to start the day in a measured and calm way, with no rushing around or bluster.
Similarly, staying in school to get work done at the end of the school day, so that you don’t have to take it home with you, is also sound advice.
However, if you’ve got family commitments and have to fit in the school run/childcare drop offs, an early start and late finish in school might not just be impractical; it might be impossible too.
Think of a strategy and a plan – and stick to it
So, there are many tips, tricks and hacks that you will dismiss as not being appropriate for you.
That’s fine. The vital thing is that you work out what will work for you. You need to come up with a plan and stick to it.
Because the simple truth is that if you don’t then you won’t avoid teacher burnout.
It doesn’t come naturally to teachers, but you need to stop being selfless. Putting yourself first, for once, isn’t being selfish. You need a bank of approaches in your repertoire to pull out when you need them.
It doesn’t matter what they are. It just matters that you have them.