The Teacher Burnout

In the Scope of a Teacher’s Stresses


Math teacher, Megan Pauley exhausted from a long day’s work.

Alesis Ruley, Staff Writer

Burnout: a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.

The negative connotation of this term can discourage people from doing what they desire in their life, and what their passions drive them to pursue. As a young student in middle school, I often found myself lost in the screen of my chromebook, searching for jobs that had the most burnout, so I could steer myself away from these professions. Some of the most popular professions among this “burnout” were nurses, construction workers, and even retail employees. Though these jobs can be exceedingly tiring, and add stress into your life at times, it is nothing compared to the education field, and the strains it can bring along.

Especially being a teacher.

A majority of individuals believe that teaching is a job for just anyone. People treat this profession with the attitude of it being “easy” and “undemanding”. If we as a society put ourselves in their shoes and step back to look at the bigger picture for a moment, we will come to the conclusion that it is not an easy and undemanding job. 

Teachers are placed with the task of making a lesson plan for each week, printing out and/or uploading materials for a class period, making sure you will not run out of time during a lesson, attending meetings during what is supposed to be their planning block, grading and reading through each assignment, and trying to get grades in Infinite Campus to each student’s satisfaction; all while trying to balance the life they have outside of school with their families, friends, and even themselves.

“My family has had to sacrifice a lot. It’s [time management] easier for me now because my kids are here, or have been here, and so that makes it easier because I get to spend time with them in any of the extra curricular things. I try to get involved in what they’re interested in, but when they were little it was really hard”, english teacher Angela Cannon said.

Time management is a concept that many individuals struggle with throughout their lifetime. Teaching is the biggest profession where employees will lose sight of how they ever were able to keep control of each day of their lives.

This type of inconsistency and lack of control is the easiest way to get to a “burn out” period.

Not just for a week or two, but consistently throughout your career.

“So you mean everyday,” math teacher Megan Pauley asked. “This is an all consuming career. Some jobs you can go home and not think about your job anymore. I worry about other people’s children, I worry about lesson plans, I worry about what I could’ve done better, worse, [or] differently.”

With teaching, the job is never completely finished. There is always a paper to be graded, a lesson plan to be constructed, or a classroom to be kept clean.

There is always one consistent factor, that will always keep a teacher preserving through some of the most strenuous times in their lives.

The students.

“The main thing [that keeps me going] I would say are connections with students”, history teacher Julie Anderson said. “Building those relationships with the kids in your classrooms, helps you remember your ‘why,’ and your purpose, and why I went this direction with my career.”

Whether you believe it or not, most teachers do want the best for their students. Even though you may notice that you have a certain teacher who “targets you” or is “disrespectful,” the passion for teaching the generation below them has had to sprout somewhere within their lifetime.

For most teachers at Central, the passion for educating the young, still resonates with them today.

“I’m really in this for you guys. I want to see you all grow up to be successful, happy young adults, and do whatever it is that your heart wants you to do,” Pauley said. “When it comes down to it I could care less if you know Geometry in your mid-twenties, but I want you to be able to have whatever you want in life.”

A prime example of teachers putting themselves aside, for the well being of the students.

As we all know, being an angsty teen comes with rebellion, testing the limits, and definitely not looking through the lens of an educator, and realizing how much they care for each individual student.

Students will often complain about simply having to do their work in class; as if that is not the exact reason why they are sitting in a classroom. 

The complaining about the simplest assignments to do can get on the students nerves, so just imagine the stress and pressure the teacher is under.

“I think one of the things you have to realize when you’re teaching is that you cannot make anybody want to learn. There’s a point where you want to continue helping that kid, but unless that kid wants it themselves, you can’t make that kid do anything,”Pauley said.

Though teachers do love their students, that does not mean that a lack of disrespect and not treating teachers like a decent human being, is not present.

Students often these days cannot find it within themselves to give the slightest bit of attention to instruction, just because they are “bored” and feel like they can get away with it.

If students now and within the future do not start to control themselves and push away their urges to make learning difficult, we could drive away people from entering the teaching field, and harm our entire society as a whole.  

Even in the present day, teaching shortages are not only a problem in Kentucky, but across the entire U.S.

“Large districts with an enrollment of 10,000 students or more saw a higher rate of resignations, reporting a median of 13.5 percent in 2022 over the 9.5 percent in 2019. Urban districts also saw higher resignation rates with a median of 10 percent compared to 8.5 percent in 2019,” a writer for Education Week, Libby Stanford said.

Hope is not all lost though, with the creation of an organization by the name of The Coalition to Sustain the Education Profession.

It is led by co-chairs David Meinschien from Livingston County, and Terrie Morgan, from Hardin County.

This organization is an effort to have business, education, and legislative leaders to research and gather input on long-term ways to stop the teaching shortage crisis, and to get more individuals involved within the education system. 

As for any young students who would like to have a career within the education system and/or the teacher profession, I do not encourage you to look away from that part of you.

Teaching is one of the most important jobs a person will have in their life, and you have a chance to interact with so many people, and make a plethora of connections. 

“Ask for help ,” Anderson said. “Other teachers have a lot of skills, knowledge, and things that we are always happy to share with other teachers.”