Black woman rests her head in her hand with her eyes closed expressing exhaustion.

Teacher Burnout: Addressing Educator Exhaustion

Teachers have to be mind readers at the same time as they have to be incredibly interpersonally sophisticated. They have to be masters of emotional intelligence. And at the same they’re supposed to be teaching academic content. Even the most sophisticated [medical] practitioners that we can imagine — it’s still more complicated to be a teacher.

– Elizabeth Green


  • Demoralization as a lack of support and resources
    • People who are isolated and don’t have a community to help them tend to feel demoralized.
    • In contrast, some leaders and teachers are facing exhaustion without feeling demoralized: They are tired, but their morale is still high. The focus for them is finding ways to address the tiredness while maintaining good morale.
  • A challenge is providing support to teachers and making them feel appreciated.
    • Staff coming into the building do not have the same skill level, and more is being asked for existing staff because of the struggle to fill empty roles.
      • “Even if we know we should be doing it differently, we’re having trouble finding ways to make it through the day.”
  • Highly skilled and veteran teachers are struggling with behavior challenges. Coming back from the pandemic and other mental health challenges, many students are having a hard time.
    • This is becoming a cycle we need to find a way out of: Teachers are already burned-out which places them at a disadvantage for tending to the needs of students in general, but then students are more stressed and in need of even more support which further exhausts teachers.


  • Rethink personnel assignments and spaces within the building and work on building a Tier 3 room where students can work on building skills, so they can enter the classroom ready to learn
  • For staff PD, focusing on providing training on SEL, trauma-informed practices for teachers, and including classified staff in PD
  • Get into every classroom as much as possible. Do walkthroughs often. When doing observations, give four positives of what a teacher’s doing well before going into more formal critiques/advice


  • Acknowledge: Four-day weeks with an actual fifth day “off” for students could be difficult for parents/families, as well as for students facing academic, economic, social/emotional hardships
    • But there are also greater levels of burnout/demoralization in teachers serving these students
    • Reach out to the larger community and community organizations and partners to provide opportunities for our students on the day that you wouldn’t hold school
  • The fifth day could still remain a school day for students, but without classes: staff, leadership, community partners, volunteers, student leaders, student teachers, etc. could lead support and enrichment activities, additional time for students to engage in clubs and extracurriculars, attend self-care and wellness sessions, etc.
  • The fifth day could be used for staff development and most importantly, teacher prep; teachers could work remotely or in person (the option should be open to them to choose). IEP meetings could be hosted on these days, so as not to add to regular school days. Time and opportunity for educator wellness should also be provided on these days

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