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Teacher Burnout: Symptoms, Causes, and Ways to Alleviate Stress

Teacher Burnout can occur for a variety of reasons.  The pandemic caused extreme upheavals in the way our schools run, and in how our teachers do their jobs.  School violence and recent shooting events have created major changes in how our teachers manage classrooms and situations surrounding safety for their students and themselves.  Today’s teachers are dealing with a different, and much more stressful school day than ever before. Student, classroom and teacher anxiety and stress are now a considerable part of the daily school attendance and teaching experience.

If you or a loved one is experiencing the signs of Teacher Burnout, it is important to take time for yourself to pay attention to these signs. Adopting solid prevention techniques and coping mechanisms can also help improve mental health among school staff members. When teachers aren’t getting the care and support that they need from their administrators and school districts, they must seek out this knowledge on their own, so they can be prepared for these challenges.

What is Teacher Burnout?

Educators may experience Teacher Burnout if they feel that their job is constantly in a state of chaos. Because of this continuous level of stress in the work day, teachers can feel a sense of detachment, emotional and/or physical exhaustion, and cynicism. They also may feel like their work isn’t accomplishing anything, or that they are ineffective as an educator.

Educators often go above and beyond their job titles to help students learn. Without adequate rest and the ability to help their students, they can experience burnout.

Among other Teacher Burnout statistics, 52 percent of teachers report feeling always or very often burned out at work. As a result, K-12 workers are the most burned-out group of workers in the United States.

Causes of Teacher Burnout

While the symptoms of Teacher Burnout can appear after a school shooting, teachers can also feel burned out because of normal, day-to-day interactions. Difficult parents, student stress, lack of appreciation, and job expectations can leave teachers feeling physically and emotionally exhausted.

School Shootings

Fearing for your life and the life of your students isn’t just stressful. It’s also demoralizing. Living with this stress can quickly exhaust a teacher’s mental and physical resources. Most teachers have to face the reality of a possible school shooting at any given time, which can change the way they do their jobs and how they balance that stress with all the other day-to-day challenges.

Student Stress & Anxiety

You might also notice signs of Teacher Burnout when students are stressed or anxious. Teachers care deeply about their students, so they can easily develop stress and anxiety if their students are going through the same problems.

Difficult Parents

When it comes to Teacher Burnout, parents can be a contributing factor. Parents can sometimes be mean, disrespectful, and angry, which has an immediate impact on teachers. Because of this kind of stress, 44 percent of teachers said they were very or fairly likely to leave the profession within two years.

Job Expectations

Teachers are expected to be part-time counselors, educators, coaches, friends, parents, and more. Not surprisingly, trying to balance all these unrealistic job expectations can set teachers up for failure. When they can’t reach an impossible goal, they become depressed and burned out.

Feeling Underappreciated

Despite pulling long hours and wearing so many different hats, teachers are chronically underappreciated. They rarely get a thank you from students, parents, or principals when they put in extra effort to help their students.

Teacher Burnout Symptoms

There are many signs of Teacher Burnout, and each person may experience this in different ways. Family, friends, and teachers should pay attention to the following symptoms:

Weight Changes

If your appetite or weight changes significantly, it could be a sign of burnout.


When someone is experiencing constant fatigue or insomnia, it indicates a potential problem.

Anxiety and Depression

Any signs of anxiety and depression could be connected to Teacher Burnout.

Concentration Problems

When teachers are burned out, they may become forgetful or have problems concentrating on specific tasks.

How Teachers Can Overcome Stress and Burnout

If you or a loved one is experiencing the symptoms of Teacher Burnout, there are a few things you can do to prevent and alleviate this issue.

Take Time Away

It’s hard to recharge your battery when you’re running on empty and haven’t had a moment’s rest. While it might not be possible right away, you should give yourself time away from school-related issues. At the very least, set aside 20-30 minutes each night to meditate, take a bath, or simply relax.

Encourage Mental Health Programs for Students

Because teachers can become stressed when students are stressed, it’s important for administrators to help students get mental health support. Calm-down rooms, school counselors, and similar programs can help students get the support they need.

Get Educated

If your district isn’t educating you about how to prevent school shootings, you should take matters into your own hands. By being prepared, you can reduce how anxious you feel about school shootings and violence. You can also learn techniques for spotting and intervening with at-risk students.

Take a Self-Defense Class

Another way to reduce stress and gain confidence is through self-defense courses. You can practice self-defense with your colleagues and students. In addition, take some time to discuss your concerns with administrators and other teachers.

Build Your Community

Every teacher has experienced many of the same struggles and emotions. Teachers’ lounges can be a place where teachers share their difficulties, get advice, and build a support network. Reach out to colleagues, friends and family members to let them all know how you’re doing and that you need their fellowship and support.

Get Help with Burnout

If you or a loved one is struggling with Teacher Burnout, help is available. Reach out to Northern California Behavioral Health System (NCBHS) hospitals in Sacramento and Santa Rosa today, either online at, or by calling 877-717-0085.  We have resources and information, and we’d like to help.

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