Getting out in nature to make art.
Springtime brings about many changes - the weather starts to warm up, the flowers start to bloom, and students start to become more restless as the end of the school year approaches. But unfortunately, springtime can also bring about teacher burnout.
Teacher burnout is a real and serious issue that affects many educators, and it's especially prevalent in the spring. After a long winter of teaching, grading, and dealing with the daily stress of the job, many teachers start to feel exhausted, unmotivated, and disconnected from their work.
Signs of Teacher Burnout:
Lack of enthusiasm - Feeling disinterested or uninspired in the classroom, or not feeling motivated to plan lessons or engage with students.
Physical exhaustion - Feeling constantly tired or run-down, experiencing frequent headaches or other physical symptoms.
Emotional exhaustion - Feeling emotionally drained, irritable, or having a shorter fuse than usual.
Loss of passion - Feeling a sense of disillusionment with the teaching profession or a loss of passion for the subject being taught. Looking at other jobs or careers.
Decreased job satisfaction - Feeling like the work is not fulfilling or that the effort being put in is not worth the reward.
Increased absenteeism - Taking more sick days or personal days than usual, or feeling like you need to "escape" from work.
Decreased effectiveness - Feeling like your teaching quality has decreased, or that you're not reaching your full potential in the classroom.
Isolation - Feeling disconnected from colleagues or students, or not having a support network to rely on.
I personally have felt at least 7 of these signs in the past month. We don't need to point out which ones.
So why does teacher burnout happen in the spring? Well, there are a few reasons. First, the end of the school year can feel like a daunting task. There's a lot of pressure to finish strong and ensure that students are prepared for the next grade level, and that can be overwhelming. For me, it UIL Art, AP Portfolios, District Art Show, and Prom all snowballing around the same time.
So, what can teachers do to combat burnout in the spring? Here are a few ideas:
Take breaks when possible. Whether it's taking a short walk during your planning period or taking a mental health day, make sure to take time for yourself when you need it. I luckily live so close to my school, I sit in my backyard at lunch when I can.
Connect with colleagues. Talk to your fellow teachers about how you're feeling. It's a high possibility that your colleagues are feeling the same way. Knowing you are not alone helps it itself.
Try something new. Springtime can be a great opportunity to mix things up in the classroom. Try a new lesson plan, project, or teaching strategy to keep things fresh and engaging. I have started practicing with gouache again. I try to create one study every other day.
Remember your "why." Take a moment to reflect on why you became a teacher in the first place and the impact that you've had on your students throughout the year. This can help reignite your passion for teaching and give you the motivation to finish the year strong. As much as I don't like this cliché statement, it is also very true.
I actively try the above tasks to keep my head above water during these times. I hope they help you too.
Eating Crumbl Cookies and Painting them help me with burnout.