While I was in university working on my B.Ed., working to become a teacher, my professors would (seemingly) constantly remind us of the “4 by 4 rule”: 40% of teachers will leave the profession within their first four years of teaching. At which point, students would look around at each other, trying to figure out who would stay and who would go, and leaving every individual wondering “will it be me?”. High teacher turnover and teacher burnout may often be talked about, but like most mental health issues, they are shrouded in prejudice and misinformation.
I will be the first to admit I once had many prejudices about teacher burnout. Until I suffered from burnout and depression a year or so ago, there was a lot I didn’t understand and know about the subject. Over the next weekend, I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned, through both personal experience and through research.
Why should we talk about
Coates & Howe (2015) have described job burnout is a state of exhaustion and emotional depletion that leads to reduced productivity, poor job satisfaction, increased sickness, growing absenteeism, high staff turnover, and mistakes caused by physical and mental fatigue. (p.655)
Skaalvik & Skaalvik (2009) characterize job burnout as a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment. (...) Another aspect of burnout is depersonalization, which in teacher burnout refers to negative, cynical attitudes and feelings about students or colleagues. Reduced personal accomplishment refers to a tendency that teachers evaluate themselves negatively as well as general feeling that they are no longer doing a meaningful and important job. (p.518)
Grayson & Alvarez (2008) elaborate on the three aspects of job burnout in the following manner: Emotional Exhaustion occurs when teachers are unable to physically and emotionally provide for students due to overwhelming feelings of fatigue and stress. (...) Depersonalization includes cynical attitudes toward students, parents, and the workplace. In turn, indifferent, cold, or distant attitudes are displayed through generalizing, derogatory labels, or physically distancing actions. Finally, diminished feelings of Personal Accomplishment are found when educators feel as though they are no longer contributing to students’ development. (p.1350)
emotional exhaustion at children and young people’s mental health in Australia. Administration and Policy in Mental Health
and Mental Health Services Research, 42(6), 655-663.
Glomb, T. M., Kammeyer-Mueller, J. D., & Rotundo, M. (2004). Emotional labor demands and compensating wage differentials.
Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(4), 700.
Grayson, J. L., & Alvarez, H. K. (2008). School climate factors relating to teacher burnout: A mediator model. Teaching and
Teacher Education, 24(5), 1349-1363.
Hochschild, A. R. (2003). The managed heart: Commercialization of human feeling. Univ of California Press.
Skaalvik, E. M., & Skaalvik, S. (2009). Does school context matter? Relations with teacher burnout and job satisfaction.
Teaching and teacher education,25(3), 518-524.
Stoeber, J., & Rennert, D. (2008). Perfectionism in school teachers: Relations with stress appraisals, coping styles, and
burnout. Anxiety, stress, and coping, 21(1), 37-53.
My name is
and I am a
French teacher in Montreal.
I am passionate about teaching, and
I love to learn and grow!
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