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Burnout and teachers

What is Burnout?

Burnout is a state of chronic stress, which leads to emotional fatigue, feeling isolated and not respected. The condition affects job performance and may even result in physical illness. It often affects people in helping professions, especially teachers.


For teachers, working with students means constantly trying to respond to their needs while simultaneously meeting the various demands of the organisation they are part of. When teachers feel that there is a mismatch between all these demands and the available resources they have for coping with them, stress is induced. Burned out teachers see their work as futile and inconsistent with the ideals or goals they had set for themselves, when they started teaching.


was created to measure the degree of burnout, looks into three areas associated with the condition: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and negative personal accomplishment. A teacher facing burnout will display extreme frustration, a lack of interest in teaching, cynicism, poor attitudes towards students and colleagues, have low self-confidence, professional jealousy, suffering relationships and a feeling of emptiness.


A burned out person will not only face emotional, cognitive and physical exhaustion, but will also face bad health-related consequences. A professional burnout can be contagious as well, since teachers who display negativism in the staffroom will influence others and eventually come to define the miasmic mood of the staff room.


The primary thing to do is to slow down, even if there are huge commitments. Give yourself time to take a backseat and analyse the situation calmly. The next step is to open up to others and not isolate yourself. This will bring a more positive feel to the situation, as you are voicing out what is actually troubling you to someone whom you trust enough to let them see you at a low point in your life. The final thing you need to do is re-evaluate the goals and priorities you had set up, to take stock of what has to be changed in order for you to truly feel positive and happy again.

Acknowledging the loss of the initial ideals you held onto will also give you a much more free view of life after the burnout. One has to realize that the most effective ways to cope with a burnout is to actively address the problem, clarify your job description and take time off for yourself.


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