In order to survive in education, I was told early in my career that I needed to not take things so personally. “They’re kids, they say things they don’t mean.”
Clinging to the idea that someday, I would grow less sensitive or that I would learn to detach from the emotional part of my career, I trudged forward hopefully that it would get easier. 11 years later and my emotional connection to my work is still a part of me, not something to outgrow, and is what makes me special in the classroom.
Teacher burnout happens when we overextend ourselves. The cons start to outweigh the pros and we are left drained and focused on the more challenging parts of our profession. Our passion starts to fade and the reasons that initially drove us to mold young minds no longer exist.
Over time, the wear and tear of everyday school activities and politics sucks the joy from the profession. Teachers need to remind themselves constantly of why they stay in the classroom and must work hard to stay relevant and focused. Once the love leaves a teacher, they are no longer good at what they do.
11 years ago, I promised myself that I’d leave the classroom the minute I stopped loving what I did. After working with many near retirement aged teachers who basically treated teaching like “just a job”, I vowed I just wouldn’t get like that.
It’s taken me a while to realize that I’m tough, but extremely passionate and emotional about teaching; it’s something that makes me effective with the kids. They know I care but it is taking its toll. I’m too involved and although it has helped me reach many students in the past it is not without a loss.
Since complaining has never been an option, it’s time to refocus and make meaningful change.