There’s a big difference between being tired from teaching and being tired of teaching.
I’ve had a few months of distance from my decision to quit teaching. In that time I’ve realized there were so many signs of burnout, but I just wasn’t paying attention.
With that in mind, I came up with 10 signs that you might be getting too crispy around the edges. Here are my potential red flags before burnout:
1. You envy the custodian.
I’m not being negative about custodians. God bless them. We need them. But I should’ve realized a problem when I started to envy their clock-in, work, clock-out routine.
2. You scold kids in the mall’s play place for not using “I feel” statements.
You need to have some adult time away from students and children. This is especially true if you work in an elementary school. Being in teacher mode all the time is exhausting.
3. You think about school all the time.
It’s hard to dictate lesson notes to Siri while you’re shaving. I know from experience. Posting more Facebook photos of your classroom than your family is not healthy. Be wary if school is consuming your thoughts.
4. Your colleagues think you’re part of the school furniture.
There will always be more work than available time. Your work will fill up however much time you give it. You have to set limits for for how long you’re at school.
5. You yell, spew sarcasm, and yell some more.
I found myself blowing up over small things at school and at home. Being sarcastic with your class and yelling are only going to make things worse. Double that for your home.
6. You imagine stabbing daggers in to the eyes of successful teachers.
I was so guilty of this. Psalm 37:7 says “do not fret when people succeed in their ways.” It’s a dangerous road when you start becoming envious of other’s enthusiasm or successes.
7. You talk, but feel no one is listening.
Frustration could be leading to negativity, and that leads to complaining. You may have valid points, but your negative tone is making others not listen.
8. You do the clap, clap, clap-clap-clap thing at home.
Your kids aren’t your students. Your home isn’t school. Well, unless you home school. But even then you need to have disconnect and separation from the two.
9. People think your car is broken down because it’s always in the parking lot.
Don’t always be the first to arrive and the last to leave. That’s no way to live. I often had a hard time leaving school at a decent time. I took a lot of frustration out on my family because of it.
10. You own a rolling cart and frequently take it home.
I did the macho version and took home a man crate. No wheels for me and these pythons. Sadly, that crate became my pastime. Don’t let your personal hobbies become lesson planning and grading papers.
Talk to someone if you think you’re on the road to burnout. Try to take some time off and reorient and repurpose your choice to teach. I wrote another piece called How to Be a Teacher for More Than 5 Years Without Killing Yourself Or Others that might help you.
Wrap your hands tightly around balance and never let go. Don’t wait until you’re a statistic.
What other warning signs of burnout can you think of?
photo credit: Dee West (Formerly deedoucette) via photopin cc Hat tip to Not Quite Burned Out But Crispy Around the Edges by Sharon Draper