The significant negative impact of the epidemic on educators is no secret. Teacher fires are at an all-time high, self-care strategies seem futile, violence against teachers is on the rise, and verbal abuse by parents is on the rise. Lost education and fears of teacher resignation continue to dominate the news.
During a recent meeting with a group of academics, I recall the stress of the last two years with which our systems for decades have already put pressure on tired professions. “Teachers have to give themselves some grace,” said Tamara Cervantes, a principal / director “We are all under pressure to act on all administrative demands and we underestimate our limitations. We forget we are human. “
Burnout is a buzz word that fails to convey the meaning of the problem. We’re great at raising red flags, but solutions that help educators make significant changes are slow to come. Unfortunately, epidemics add to the stress by adding sympathetic fatigue. Although burnouts occur over time and are usually the result of work stress such as staff shortages or inadequate resources, empathy fatigue occurs when we run out of empathy. The epidemic has spread these stresses and turned the world upside down for academics.
“The real fear of Kovid-19 (to our teachers, students and parents) cannot be dispelled. We tend to forget that our teachers, like our students, have gone through covid, “said Cervantes.” We forget that they have lost loved ones, their families have gone through struggles, their children have gone through learning loss. We hope they will return. It’s like they’re superheroes with caps – something that hasn’t happened in the last two years. “
Combined, burnout and compassion put teachers in a more extended position. Solutions to these feelings imply that teachers simply need to “find it” or “take a breath”. While self-care is an important resilience strategy for teachers, it also leads to increased resignations, higher turnover, and teacher shortages. Often, schools place too much emphasis on the individual and fail to recognize other elements of the learning environment that affect teachers’ laziness and empathy fatigue.
Our counselors realized that the opposite of this combination of burnout and empathy fatigue is not rest, but rediscovery and reconnection with purpose. If we want to solve this complex problem, the school administration should consider the following strategies at the regulatory level.
1. Evaluate and determine contributing factors.
We may think we have all the answers to fight burnout, but this relentless pressure is complex. We use Maslach’s burnout inventory to measure burnout across three domains:
- Depression: Feelings of being overwhelmed, overwhelmed, and tired by your work.
- Personalization: Measures an impersonal response.
- Personal credit: Recognize our work ethic and feelings of accomplishment.
The assessment also looks at different aspects of work and personal life that can help district leadership teams or school principals and identifies specific strategies for dealing with burnout. Based on the results, the strategies in these two cases may look very different. If you focus on reducing the workload of your teaching staff, but your teachers lack the feeling of being rewarded for their work, then you need to rethink how you appreciate them for their accomplishments.