Tips to Avoid Burning Out in the Long Haul

Writing in Education Week, Kelly Scott, in her eighth year as a secondary English teacher in Chesterfield, Va., offers four tips to ease the long-haul end-of-the-school-year blahs when you’re already feeling brain weary.

Limit negative teacher social media

“Following teacher accounts on Instagram and TikTok is pretty much synonymous with teaching these days. Many teacher-related accounts offer a hefty amount of validation by exposing the negative and downright ridiculous aspects of teaching. These accounts are invaluable.

“But if your feed is inundated with only the most harrowing tales of bad student behavior, deplorable admin antics, and teachers confessing their desperate longings to leave the profession, this constant barrage of negativity is bound to affect your own mindset and attitude.

“This is not to say you should adopt an outlook of toxic positivity and pretend everything is perfect; it just means it’s important to be aware of the content in your feed and how it impacts you.

“Balance the negative with some lighthearted professional content and be sure to follow some humorous nonteacher-related accounts for some laughs.

Watch out for venting vampires

“Listening to a colleague vent now and then can be validating and build camaraderie, but being on the receiving end of nonstop venting can suck the energy from you, leaving you feeling worse.

“Again, this is not about ignoring the real problems that plague teachers daily, it’s about protecting your emotions and not getting sucked into a depressed state where it feels like nothing is ever good or right with teaching.

“If you find yourself on the constant receiving end of a venting vampire, offer a vaguely positive statement to interrupt the negativity such as ‘My class has actually been pretty cooperative this week’ and move on. While the temptation to commiserate may be strong, it will only secure your position as their go-to listener for future venting sessions.

“Be aware of how the attitudes of those around you can shape your feelings toward your time in the classroom.

Limit mindless scrolling for job opportunities

“Perusing the job market to weigh your options and think about future endeavors is great, but if you are feeling burnt out, or seasonal depression is sinking in, be mindful of how much time you devote to job scrolling. What begins out of boredom and curiosity may turn into obsessively searching and thinking the grass is greener elsewhere. This could trigger a domino effect where you find yourself applying for jobs just to ‘see what happens,’ which might lead to making a rash decision about your career.

“Investing excessive amounts of time into job searching can also make you disengage from your current job, which will only compound negative feelings you may already have. Stay in touch with how much time you are spending looking at other job opportunities. If you are using it to escape reality, this could result in feeling even more dissatisfied.

Take a strategic mental health day

“Take a strategically timed mental health day. Once you schedule the day, activate an out-of-office email response so you can completely unplug.

“Do not use your day off to grade papers or to get ahead on planning. Your only planning should involve an indulgent activity for yourself. For this day to be worth using your sick time, it must benefit your mental well-being. So be selfish and make the day all about you. This could be the very boost you need to recharge and refresh.

Education Week

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors


Subscribe today to get K-12 news you can use delivered to your inbox twice a month

More Insights