Welcome Back to School!
The pencils are sharpened, the desks are arranged, and the coffee is warm; you’re ready to start the
day! The start of the school year is such an exciting time; full of wonder and packed with opportunities.
But it is also a very stressful and sometimes frustrating time, especially for the educators working hard
to kick the year off right. We know that all too often teachers get burned out with too many
responsibilities and not enough assistance, support, or feedback.
We hope you’ve had a relaxing summer and are prepared for the school year. But if you are already
feeling burned out, let’s talk about what you can do to re-focus and start the school year feeling
invigorated and excited for the year ahead.
In the article, How to Fall in Love with Teaching Again, Chase Mielke details how to go from burnout to
fulfillment with 3 tips: Mindfulness, Gratitude, and Job Crafting.
“After five years, 46 percent of teachers either move to new positions or quit teaching, often because of
overall job dissatisfaction, loss of autonomy, and lack of feedback”
Slow down. Take a deep breath. Count to 10. We’ve all heard it before; we need to be more focused on
the moment at hand instead of focusing on our mile-long to-do list. But how we do we get there? Mielke
says, “[We need to] fight the two beasts of burnout: rumination and resentment”. So how do we do
that? “Take two slow deep breaths before speaking our first words to our class…Use thought and
emotion labeling” (when feeling resentment or frustration). “Practice breathing and being present after
each disruption such as lockers closing in the hallway or the phone ringing”. Use this time to take an
extra breath and re-focus. It’s been shown in studies that “mindfulness affects teacher’s stress
management and the culture of the class”. So while these tasks may seem very small, they play a large
role in our overall happiness and satisfaction, let’s give mindfulness and deep breathing the time they
“Those who practiced mindfulness improved their emotional regulation and reduced their psychological distress”
2. Attitude: Gratitude
Changing our attitude can be an important part of how we perceive our circumstances. It’s okay to take
a step back and make goals to improve our situation, “but if we spend too much time focusing on how it
could be better, we lose sight of the gains we’ve made and the good fortune we have”. Focusing on the
negative and comparing ourselves to others can be a slippery slope into discontentment. Mielke
suggests focusing on gratitude to beat the burnout. Make a conscious effort to reflect on the parts of
your job that you are grateful for. Is it a co-worker, a student, the smell of a brand new pack of crayons?
What makes you grateful to be an educator? Focus on these positives both small and large. Involve your
students in a gratefulness exercise.
“Try ‘Gratituesday’, where you and your students spend a few minutes practicing brief gratitude
interventions. Log your thoughts in a journal, discuss overcoming adversities, etc.” With your colleagues
try to find and discuss positive moments and good things about your job.
3. Action: Job Crafting
What motivated you to become a teacher? Think back to all the little things you were excited about
doing when you began your teaching career. Have those things changed? Do you still find joy in them? If
you are starting to feel burned out, try re-focusing on the tasks you love.
“Take intentional actions to change how we interact with our tasks and with others”
Use these 4 themes from Mielke’s article to re-frame your job.
Boosts-Do more of the jobs you love. Find the tasks you enjoy and focus on them.
Burdens– Reduce the jobs that frustrate you or shift your approach to completing them.
Gifts– Consider your own strengths, how can you apply them to your position as educator?
Gaps-What weaknesses can you outsource to someone else or get help with? Can you trade tasks with a
“Start small…share victories instead of venting”
Burnout is a real possibility but we hope with these few ideas you’ll be able to find your love of teaching
once again. We recognize all of the hard work educators put in year after year to prepare the future
generation for the life ahead of them. We are grateful for you and your creativity, passion, and
guidance. Thank you for your continued efforts!