Why so many promising teachers leave the profession is a very often discussed topic in public education. To find an answer we must take a hard look at what is causing it. It is utterly discouraging to see so many dedicated educators make the decision to give up teaching.
Exhaustion, despair, anger, and an overall sense of helplessness that many teachers feel are usually branded as “teacher burnout.” The question this brings up is what is causing teachers to experience burnout? Is it the job of teaching itself, or something else? Something that can be changed.
Are Teachers Demoralized?
As the chair of the Education Department at Bowdoin College, Doris Santoro believes it is not simply the job, but rather the stripping away of the “moral rewards” teachers used to experience that is the issue. Teachers are feeling demoralized by the continued effort to erode teacher autonomy with the use of standardization, high-stakes testing, punitive accountability systems, and a narrowing curriculum.
A deeper understanding of what causes teacher dissatisfaction can empower experienced teachers to “re-moralize” and help revitalize the profession, Santoro says.
A Closer Look at Teacher Burnout
The term “teacher burnout” is at the forefront of the discussion about why teachers are leaving the profession. The trouble is the term itself is often misunderstood. It is thought by many administrators and districts to be a sweeping epidemic that can be fixed with large district-wide policies and off-the-shelf 3-ring binder programs.
The truth is, however, “teacher burnout” is not the same for each teacher. The signs and symptoms vary as do the causes. The only variable that stays constant and is most often overlooked is the teachers thinking.
Oh sure, the big-box programs all have at least a chapter dedicated to the idea that teachers need to change their thinking. But none ever do more than scratch the surface of the concept. In fact, they usually blame the teachers themselves for their “lack of grit” or “lack of dedication” and suggest they should change their thinking about the job.
What is the Answer?
The answer is completely different, however. Yes, it is thinking that requires a change. But in a far different way than is being taught. The key is teachers must first understand the nature of thought.
It is only after they have a clear understanding of what thought is and isn’t, what it can and cannot do, that they can move their thinking and “RE:MIND themselves”.
It is far more than just self-care. It is a completely new way of seeing and understanding the world we live in. It is a way to adjust your perception of reality. It strips away preconceived notions and limitations that are keeping teachers from being able to burn brightly in their passion for teaching.
True! It does not remove the struggles teachers face. However, it reframes, redefines them, and offers hope for the future. If you feel like you have burnout or are currently struggling with feelings of exhaustion, despair, anger, or an overall sense of helplessness as a teacher, it is time to RE:MIND yourself.
See how easy it is to do with the 3-day perception non-workshop video experience now.
It’s Important to Know
It is important for you to understand that you are not alone, and it is not your fault. The typical jargon from school districts and office administration is that teacher burnout is the fault of the teachers. “Sorry you didn’t have what it takes to be a teacher, you couldn’t hack it, or you weren’t strong enough to last.” is not the type of “support” teachers need from their employers.
Teachers need a new way to define what they are going through. When they RE:MIND themselves they change the trajectory of their lives and careers. The transformation that happens to these teachers after they learn to reframe what they are experiencing is both liberating and empowering. They have access to a whole new set of rules and possibilities after they are able to reframe their current situations.
So, the term “teacher burnout” needs to be replaced. Because it strongly suggests that teachers, are themselves, essentially at fault. It is often used to imply that teachers are responsible for students’ poor academic performance.
This, of course, leads to calls for teachers to “show some grit” or be more “resilient”, two very popular buzzwords and phrases. This mislabeling needs to stop.
Often teachers who raise concerns get labeled as simply acting in self-interest. Whether it’s about the symptoms of burnout or the causes, they often get treated as if they are only trying to protect their jobs.
In a profession where burnout and demoralization are too prevalent, not talking more about the symptoms and causes is unacceptable.