Mental Health

Teacher Burnout, everything you need to know

teacher burnout Posted On
Posted By Alex Perez - Mental Health Writer, B.A.

Teacher burnout is when teachers feel overwhelmed and increasingly unappreciated to the point of impacting work quality. Burnout is a wild spread phenomenon that reaches to all kinds of activities. This situation has been known for quite a while now, so we will put special attention to teacher burnout because teaching is one of the careers that have most issues with burnout, and the reach of the problem is much broader in this case. It impacts not only the teachers but also students, parents, school systems, and education as a whole.

This issue of teacher burnout is widely spread in all Western countries

Most teachers start their careers wanting to improve society and have a positive impact on the lives of their students. However, teachers who experience teacher burnout often feel detached and depressed over their work life.

Being the cornerstone of the entire school system, their duties go much further than teaching alone. They often spend extra hours intervening with behavioral problems, planning to meet educational requirements, dealing with parent involvement (or lack thereof), and coordinating school events. The entire package of small extra duties that nobody seems to notice is the key to understand the high rates of teacher burnout.

It is often seen that teachers who experience teacher burnout have a feeling that the entire educational system failed them and that there is so much improvement to be done that the task seems impossible. The rise of teacher burnout germs out of a general feeling of demotivation that increases with the years. The teacher can feel demoralized and exhausted, which is the ideal breeding ground for massive numbers of teacher burnouts.

They feel the need for more support because they are taking duties or meeting requirements that take too much time and distract from their primary responsibility: teaching.

Teacher burnout also stems from teachers feeling undervalued. Something particular in the school system is that teachers will be evaluated not on their achievements but the grades of their students. It is not difficult to understand that there is not always a logical cause to effect in this case and that some teachers face a much more difficult task than others depending on the school where they teach.

Teachers feel this undermines their impact and neglects to show student improvement as a whole accurately. Because of the many hats teachers wear, reducing their value to one score contributes to teacher burnout.

Unfortunately, due to teacher burnout, many teachers chose to quit teaching to find a different profession. Many talented and hardworking teachers leave the field of education because of burnout.

Signs of Teacher Burnout

signs of teacher burnout

If you’re a teacher or know a teacher friend, there are some tell-tale signs of experiencing teacher burnout:

  • Small things irritate you that you usually find harmless
  • You don’t care to discipline students when needed or overlook misbehaviors because it’s easier than dealing with it
  • You feel underappreciated and therefore lack the motivation to invest in any of your students or school emotionally
  • You feel sad or detached from your work, whereas when you started teaching, you enjoyed your job and found it inspirational
  • You give a child an easy mark instead of one they earned
  • Any added responsibility, even if it is a small one, feels like a weight on your shoulders
  • Anger towards the education system until it impedes on your daily tasks
  • Feel unhealthy and may find yourself getting sick often due to stress and being overworked

Solutions for Teacher Burnout:

teacher burnout solutions

Teachers who are experiencing teacher burnout should:

  • Talk to your administrators about how you are feeling. Administrators usually have the power to communicate with other staff and Parent Teacher Organizations to put teacher-wellness at the forefront of their agenda. Administrators can also address teacher burnout by lessening the load for you and advocate for your needs.
  • Find comfort and support in other teachers feeling teacher burnout. Sometimes, finding comfort in others who feel the same way you do helps you feel less alone through the struggle.
  • Seek help from a therapist or life coach. Seeking help from a mental health professional can help you understand your feelings and find effective ways of coping with teacher burnout.

Make a difference in adressing teacher burnout!

teacher burnout make a difference

Even if you are not a teacher, you can significantly make a difference in addressing teacher burnout. Get involved in your child’s PTO and advocate for teacher burnout. You can also vote for representatives in your district that understand what is best for the local education system.


Kremer L., Hofman J.E. (1985). Teachers’ professional identity and burn-out. Research in Education. 34, 1, 89-95.

Friesen, D., Prokop, C. M., & Sarros, J. C. (1988). Why teachers burn out. Educational Research Quarterly, 12, 3, 9–19.

Burk R. J., Greenglass E. (1995). A Longitudinal Study of Psychological Burnout in Teachers. Human Relations, 48, 2, 187-202

De Heus P., Diekstra R.F.W., (2010). Understanding and Preventing Teacher Burnout A Sourcebook of International Research and Practice , 17, 269 – 284.


More information about stress: Symptoms of stress The real impact of burnout and stress

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