Burnout is the hot topic in education right now! (sorry for the bad pun, I can never help myself) It is commonly mentioned alongside symptoms like exhaustion, isolation, or depression.
None of these are the starting point of burnout, however. When an educator begins to feel that exhaustion and the mental drain of overwork, it is not just beginning. Burnout is already present.
So where does burnout begin? The answer to this question should change the way we view burnout and how we instruct pre-service and new teachers to avoid burnout altogether!
Burnout begins with a passionate commitment to the profession.
Think about it…
Would you burn out of something you don’t care about?
Would you feel mental exhaustion from feeling like you are not doing enough for something you are not invested in?
Burnout starts with the connection you have to the work. When you are passionate about something, you want to do well in it and are more likely to overexert yourself to maintain your expectations of excellence.
Then, you are also likely to not feel satisfied with the results you achieve, because you want even better!
Thus begins a cycle of overworking yourself and draining all of your emotional resources, only to constantly underperform and not see the results you hope for.
Does this mean we should not have a passionate commitment to teaching?
Of course not! Passion and commitment are excellent qualities. But it is vital that you understand its position in burnout. When you feel excitement towards teaching and a love and fire for your job, you are also more vulnerable to burnout.
Every teacher who has that passion should begin researching, learning, and practicing burnout reduction methods. There are many and some suit individuals better than others. The point is, begin your practice of destressing and refueling your energy now.
Because after your resources are depleted, the next steps of burnout are cynicism and isolation. It is very hard to recover from burnout when you feel completely alone with a belief that nothing will work out for good in your teaching.
Start now! And if you want some solid strategies to reduce and relieve burnout symptoms, check out the free Burnout Ice Pack guide!