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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Preventing Teachers Burnout

What is the term Burnout refers to..
  • When a teacher cannot perform the day-to-day duties of teaching due to a sense of tiredness, frustration, exhaustion, and/or hopelessness. The teacher either leaves the situation or stays in the same position and, in general, is unsuccessful or ineffective as a teacher.
  • A teacher's loss of idealism and enthusiasm for work (Matheny, Gfroerer, and Harris 2000).
  • "An extreme type of role-specific alienation with a focus on feelings of meaninglessness, especially as this applies to one's ability to successfully reach students" (Wood, McCarthy 2000).
  • "Syndrome resulting from teachers' inability to protect themselves against threats to their self esteem and well being" (Haberman) 
Are you Burn Out..

Do work activities you once found enjoyable now feel like drudgery? Have you become more cynical or bitter about your job, your boss or the company? Are non-work relationships (marital, family, friendships) affected by your feelings about work?
Do you find yourself:
dreading going to work in the morning? easily annoyed or irritated by your co-workers? envious of individuals who are happy in their work? caring less now than you used to about doing a "good job" at work?
Are you:
regularly experiencing fatigue and low energy levels at your job? easily bored with your job? depressed on Sunday afternoons thinking about Monday and the coming week?
If you answered yes to five or more of the above, you may be suffering from job burnout.

Causes of Teacher Burnout

Burnout is the result of a long period of stress. Stress comes from the perception of a teacher that the resources available to deal with the stress are not adequate. In other words, the stressors (demands from the job) outweigh the resources available to deal with the demands. Example: "Teachers must face a classroom full of students every day, negotiate potentially stressful interactions with parents, administrators, counselors, and other teachers, contend with relatively low pay and shrinking school budgets, and ensure students meet increasingly strict standards of accountability." (Wood, McCarthy 2000).
One interesting aspect of teacher burnout is the thought that younger teachers are experiencing burnout due to lack of mentoring. It is the hope that guidance from a more experienced teacher will aide in the way prospective and novice teachers handle the stress of the job.

Preventing Teacher Burnout

Researchers point out that it is easier to prevent teacher burnout than it is to reverse it once teacher burnout has developed. Preventative measures can be taken at the organizational level (changes in school environment) or at the individual level (strengthen teachers' resouces for resisting stress).
Interventions the school system can take to prevent teacher burnout:
  • Offer professional development activities
  • Stress management workshops
  • Relaxation training
  • Time management workshops
  • Nutrition, exercise and coping skills training.
  • Improve working conditions
  • Classroom environment
  • Salary issues
  • Accommodate cultural differences
  • Religious events/holidays 

 It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken
joy in creative expression and knowledge.
Albert Einstein

I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.
Alexander of Macedon

Those who educate children well are more to be honored than parents, for these only gave life,
those the art of living well.

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