A Classic Case of Teacher Burn-Out

I wish I could say I love my job–that it fulfills me and I’m happy going to work on most (if not all) days. But…that’s not true. I’m burning out, and it’s so apparent that I can’t even pretend to hide it anymore.

I’m a school teacher. And yes, I used to love my job…or at least I thought I did. My family tells me I’ve never really seemed happy doing what I do, but I always blamed it on being at the wrong school or having co-workers with whom I had nothing in common. But I can no longer hide behind that excuse; I’m at a great school and work with some amazing people, several who have become my friends.¬†And yet, here we are, at the end of September, and I already can’t wait until my next summer break.

I can’t sleep at night, because I don’t want to wake up in the morning and face another miserable day at work. It’s become so bad that last week I was running on fumes of caffeine and dark chocolate–this is usually how I survive the entire month of May leading up to summer break, but it is much too early for me to begin this self-destructive pattern.

How did I get here? I love the kids. Honestly, they are the only reason I didn’t quit last year. I’m still hoping to somehow “make a difference”, which is why most teachers get into this profession in the first place. But…I don’t feel as if my being there has any effect on our future generations. I’ve become a data-driven, test-proctoring robot with very little freedom to inspire and motivate these children. And therefore, my heart is no longer in it. I can’t. I just can’t. It crushes my soul a little bit each time I walk into my classroom and administer another test, saying, “I’m sorry kids, I don’t have a choice.”

There has got to be a better way. I know that teachers have their hearts in the right place, but we are discouraged from doing anything that isn’t proven to “show growth” in our students. And I fear for our education system. It is so completely broken, I’m not sure how we’ll ever get back on track.

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