Teacher Burnout

The definition of burnout is: “a state of complete mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion.” Teacher burnout is times 10 added to that definition. Teachers make at least 1,500 decisions each day they are in the classroom. That’s a lot of decisions that we have to make, pivoting at a moment’s notice to something that is off during our lesson or during our day. 

What causes Burnout?

In one word, Stress. Teacher burnout is caused by sustained stress that never subsides. No matter how many people you vent to, no matter how much sleep you get, no matter how much exercise you do, it doesn’t subside. It’s the kind of stress that makes you feel heavy and tired every morning when you wake up. It can cause so much stress that it can affect your overall health. 


Taking a break when you have Teacher Burnout is an option. Stepping away from the classroom can be a very hard decision to make. Sometimes it is necessary to step away because it helps you put your situation into a different perspective.  Some of the options for teachers that want to stay in education but not in the classroom are: moving to a new school, trying a different grade level, seeking a position at district level, or applying for an administrative position (not principal). 

There are many jobs out there that would be so lucky to have a former teacher at their company. Teachers are the hardest working people with the best skills. You can simply go into LinkedIn to help you match your skills to job postings that could be possibilities for you. If you choose to put yourself out there, remember that it can take a while to find an ideal job. Sometimes it is necessary to take a job that doesn’t check all the boxes, it doesn’t have to be permanent. Consider the job a stepping stone in the direction that you want to go. 

When to Start

If teachers want to step away from the education setting completely, then there is a different path to take. Teachers looking for jobs outside of education need to really step it up and start early in their school year if they don’t plan to return the following year. One of the most important things to do is to update their resume to make sure it has the language needed for the specific position they are applying for. Education lingo will not look appealing to corporate type job recruiters. If you need a resource to help you in this process, check out Teacher Career Coach.

My Experience

I had teacher burnout in my 15th year of teaching, coming back to full in person 2021-2022 school year. It was too much for me and as the year was starting I kept feeling a heaviness in my heart and my body. My health started to decline and I had to make a decision. As the school year progressed I had already made up my mind to leave. By January I knew and I was taking the necessary steps to make my exit. It was so overwhelming and at the same time it was very necessary. 

My break lasted 9 months before I went back to the classroom. When I left the classroom I was often asked, “Do you miss it?” “Will you go back to the same school?” My answer was always, “I don’t know” “For now I am taking a break” “Maybe, never say never”. 

Jobs During the Break

I had the opportunity to work at a Human Resource Department of a business. It was interesting and different to teaching. My official title was Human Resource Assistant, and right away I knew that it was going to be a temporary position. After being a leader in a classroom setting, it was hard for me to adjust to being the assistant. 

After the Human Resource position, I found another office job for a bigger company. It was still not feeling like me and the office was just too quiet. Most people were working from home and it was all number crunching. It was at this job that I realized that I was done with my break and decided to go back into teaching. 

The Journey Is Personal

Everybody’s journey will look different. I have come across many creators on social media that were leaving the profession. Some of them were like me, many years of teaching experience looking for something different. Others were newer teachers that were part of the 5 year statistic. Some, like me, went back to teaching and others found something else outside of the teaching profession. 

Where Am I Now?

I am now a Teacher at a school in the same city I teach. The commute is a lot better. I get to see the sun and the sky, which helps tremendously with my mood. I get to be with my family and work on other projects around the house. Is it perfect? No, the education system is very broken. But I am in a happier place. Changing districts and schools made a difference for me and it may or may not work out for you. The choice is yours. 

In the past 2 years I have been working on my Blog and Teachers Pay Teachers Store. These 2 projects have also helped me because I have something else to look forward to outside of my teaching career. Other things that are helping: leave at contract hours, don’t take work home, do what you can, don’t beat yourself up and so many other things that also come with life experience. What are some tips you have to prevent teacher burnout?

Let Me Know

Are you feeling Teacher Burnout? Where are you on your journey? Have you looked into other opportunities? Do you think you want to leave the profession and look for another job? Let me know, I’d like to read your comments. 


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