What Causes Teachers to Burnout
Teachers burn out because of overwhelming pressure and stress. It's a work-related tension comprising of frustration and low self-esteem. According to research, teachers felt exhausted and drained out after a long day. And at the end of the school week, they become sarcastic and uncaring. Teaching is a high-stress profession and very much demanding. Teachers have to be on their toes all the time. They have to handle the students and answer the parents, school management board and the administrators. Teachers always have their hands full. Some teachers cope by taking a day or two off to wind down and breathe. It has an adverse impact on the schools and students as a whole. Schools have to look for substitute teachers in the last minute so that the students' time and a day don't get wasted. Burnout has its fair share of negative impacts on the system. It's not comfortable working with students because one has to meet their needs and demands and alongside do what the administration wants. Moreover, the government wants their work to be done anyhow. It doesn't look into the grievances of teachers. In fact, it adds more and more onto the teacher's workload.
Triggers and Causes of Teachers' Burnout
The teaching profession is much more than giving education. Teachers have to play so many roles from that of an educator to a counsellor to the mother, to nurse, to the referee and much more! If teachers don't get burned out, then they are not human! They have juggle so many things at once and outlined here are some triggers and causes of teachers' burnout:
• Discipline- not all students are alike. Some follow the rules happily while some sulk and bring about the disorder. Students who misbehave test the patience of teachers. Amazingly, many teachers handle this smoothly, but it leaves a dire effect on their mind.
• Administration Pressure - teachers need to change their teaching techniques and strategies all the time. They do this to reach out to the students in a creative manner. The administration doesn't find sense in it and wants their teachers only to use one technique or strategy. It puts unwarranted pressure on teachers.
• Lack of Support - it has been observed in many schools that the teachers are usually at loggerheads with the management board. There is a lack of support. Teachers' suggestions and ideas are pushed aside.
• Taking Work Home - when they can't get it done in the classroom, they take the work home. Many teachers end up doing this; they take assignments, essays and books home to mark. They do it in their personal space and time. It adds on to the burnout.
• Low Salary - teachers no longer find their salaries lucrative. In fact, the time and energy they spend in their profession burn a hole in their pockets. The ministry and school administrators are very much aware of this, but nothing definite has come up.
• Time Constraint - teachers have a limited time to get their work done. They have to race against the clock to educate the students in line with the curriculum and syllabus; there are extracurricular activities to be taken care of, assignments and projects to be planned and given and meetings with parents. Teachers have so much to do in little time.
Teachers have to go through poor working conditions. The classrooms are poorly ventilated, and they have to handle more than the required number of students. It leaves a negative impact on the overall performance of some students because the teachers are not able to give them attention.
How to Tackle the Situation
Burnout can be addressed only through direct action. In other words, the cause has to address and eliminated. The administrators and the school management need to work hand-in-hand with the teachers. They have to keep in mind that the teachers play a very crucial role. The administrators and the school management have to address the teachers' grievances collectively. Teachers can take control by:
• Not overworking. They should do everything within the school boundary and not take work home because it only adds onto their stress. And thus, they end up neglecting their family. Teachers should opt for a healthy family life above anything else.
• Relax/Timeout. Teachers should take a short break. They can do so when the students go on recess or lunch break. Teachers can use this time to relax and refresh their mind and body. They will feel right.
• Talk. If teachers are having a problem, they should talk freely about it with the concerned head of department or administration. They can find the solution to the problem there and then.
Teachers can also release the pressure or stress by writing diaries. They will feel as if a burden or load has been lifted off their shoulders. Going for walks in the park after a long day at school is also helpful. It helps teachers in winding down.