The pandemic and return to in-person learning have led to widespread teacher burnout—here’s how to prioritize self-care

How educators can make time for self-care


The pandemic and return to in-person learning have led to widespread teacher burnout—here’s how to prioritize self-care

This time of year sees email in boxes filled with information about how to prepare for the next year, reminders that grades are due, and papers await grading. We are deluged with predictions about the future, what to worry about, and sometimes even what to be excited about. Those with calendar year goals are often rushing to complete projects or solidify a final sale. Family and other holiday obligations can often add an extra level of stress as well. One thing often missing is how to make sure you are balanced and ensure you are taking time for self-care.

According to a recent NBC article about the increasing educator shortage, between retirements among an already-aging population and the stress and burnout of the pandemic, the number of potential educators in the pipeline is not nearly enough to match needs.

An October 2021 NPR report showed that 80,000 aspiring nurses were turned away from nursing schools due to a lack of adequate nursing instructors. It is clear that educator burnout can directly lead to shortages in other critical areas such as health care.

What are some simple things that can be done to help ameliorate educator burnout? AASA, the national superintendent association, has just released a new program called Live Well, Lead Well to encourage and support self-care. We all learned about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the need to ensure basic needs before we can expect our students and colleagues to reach the upper levels of the hierarchy. Alicia has said, “You can’t pour from an empty cup, and you need to take care of yourself in order to be of any use to others.”

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