How to Recover from Burnout this Summer

1 Jun
Timken Roller Bearing Co., calendar, September...

Timken Roller Bearing Co., calendar, September 1950, teacher at desk (Photo credit: George Eastman House)

It’s a pretty well-known fact that the first year of teaching is nearly always a disaster. Becoming a competent teachers takes at least two years, and becoming a master teacher takes around five.

Yet, it’s also a pretty well-known fact that most new teachers quit the profession within three years. (Interestingly, one of the few professional careers with an even higher turnover rate than teachers is that of nonprofit development directors–my other job–at 18 months. Who knows how I get myself into these situations.)


Avoiding burnout and sticking around is absolutely key in making a difference in the lives of our students–so here are some ideas for things I plan to do this summer to rejuvenate myself:

Take on a side project. It’s best if it has nothing at all to do with your current job–try gardening, singing, running, or scrapbooking. Some teachers like to take on another job in the summer, and this can be fun, too, if you let it. Just be sure that whatever you take on iis something simple and achievable, if also challenging (I know that I’ve bought years’ worth of knitting supplies before realizing that I actually hate knitting and am terrible at it.) It’s important to feel successful at the end of the summer. I’m planning on finishing another draft of the middle grades novel I’m working on, and helping out with other cool nonprofits like this one.

Focus on relationships. Having a network of people who love and support you makes every school year easier. I know I would have quit long ago if it wasn’t for the unflagging support of my family, my friends, and my fella–so I plan on taking some time this summer to support them, too, and spending some quality bonding time together.

What do you do to avoid burnout? How do you spend your summers?


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