Lesson Plan Development



Burnout & 








    Teacher Burnout and Teacher Stress   

Below are some activities and tips that you may want to try to for burnout and for stress.



Teacher Burnout: Activities to Help

Teaching is a monstrously hard, stressful, and challenging occupation.  As a result, most teachers experience some degree of fatigue or burnout during their careers.  It is important then for experienced teachers to regularly take steps to combat burnout.


Below are twenty simple on-the-job activities that may help with teacher burnout. 


Remember, if you feel you can’t cope be certain to seek help.

Share Quotes—With a few other teachers take some time after school (preferably off campus) to share and discuss your favorite positive quote about teachers and teaching.  Don’t allow the conversation to drift toward the burdens of teaching, school gossip, or negativity.  If you can’t find colleagues who want to do this, collect your own list of inspiring quotes and post them where you will see them daily.


Learn with teachers—Either alone or with some colleagues take a class, create a collegial circle, engage selected Teachers on Target staff development activities, go to see an inspiring speaker, ask fellow teachers to teach something to a small group of colleagues, etc.  Plug new thinking into your head.


Read a book about teachers or teaching.  Read to gain insight into how others have kept their teaching careers vibrant and productive.  Discuss the book with colleagues.


Stop participating in school gossip or gripe sessions.  Gossip is counterproductive and only adds to one’s stress level.

Reflect on Teaching.  With a small group of colleagues or with your department take some time to reflect on why you went into education.  Look at the big picture rather than the day-to-day hassles.  Conclude by discussing the nobility of teaching and how you and your colleagues make a difference in the lives of children.


Practice stress tips (see below).

Find a mentor and/or confidant.  Find a veteran teacher who will set aside one-on-one time with you to discuss teacher professionalism.  Work toward a high level of trust and honesty.

Start a best practices network or group.  When asked, many teachers are willing to share their best practices.  Schedule a regular time where you can meet and share new and workable professional strategies.   Subsequently try something new in your classroom.

Team teaching.  Team teaching or shared teaching can be a viable antidote to teacher stagnation or burnout.

Keep a "positive" notebook.  Keep a private notebook handy and each day write something positive in it about your teaching or interaction with staff.  Better yet, find a colleague who will take a minute daily to share something positive about the events of the day.


Discuss burnout at a faculty meeting or department meeting.  Sometimes verbalizing your concerns can help.  Be certain to select a moderator who will make certain that the discussion does not swerve to the negative.  Conclude the discussion with ideas to keep teaching alive and vibrant.

Create a Positive characteristics list.  List the top ten things you like about your work or your teaching style—those good things when things fall into place.  Post this list in a place where you will see them daily.

Create a “Stop Doing” list.  Make a list of actions that you really don’t like to do, things that consume too much time or energy, and/or behaviors that are redundant.  Take each one and think about how you can reduce its impact, the time and energy it takes, or how you can eliminate it all together.  In short, cut some things out.

Make a list of your teaching strengths or things that you do well in the classroom and subsequently try to focus more on them.  Review this list on a regular basis.  If you are comfortable, ask a colleague to view your teaching and then discuss those things that went well.

Meditate or take a quiet moment for yourself.  Each working day, put everything aside for a few minutes to quiet yourself and relax.  There are many books that can help you with this.

Take a regrouping walk.  During your prep time you may want to walk your school hallways for five minutes to “depressurize” and gather your thoughts.

Write a resume and have it ready to go.  Use it to remind yourself that you have lots of skills, knowledge, and talents.

Observe good teaching.  Ask a teacher who you admire if you may observe him or her teaching.  Put into your own teaching some of the strategies that you observed.

Keep a work diary.  A daily journal of your work day may help you keep things in perspective.  You may also see a few places where you can streamline effort and boost your energy.

Find humor in the workday.  At the lunch table or in the faculty lounge ask colleagues to relate humorous teaching stories.  Laugh daily at work.

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Teacher Stress: Tips to Help

Every educator knows how stressful teaching can be.  Below are a dozen easy on-the-job actions that teachers can do to help manage stress. 

  1. Conduct a stress review.  Make a list of things that may be stressing you out.  It is often helpful to know exactly what is “bugging” you.  Once you know what the issues are, you can begin to make helpful changes.

  2. Prioritize. Put your work in priority order and then work on the high priority items first.  Avoid spending a disproportionate amount of time and energy on tasks that are less important. 

  3. Sort. Weed out those tasks and efforts that are no longer productive.  In other words, don’t keep adding to your list of responsibilities without freeing up time by removing or reducing what you currently do.

  4. Remain positive. Stress is part of teaching so don’t let it poison your work mindset or, more importantly, your self-perception.  Simply thinking positively will help reduce stress levels.

  5. Identify your successes.   Make a list of your accomplishments at work.  Undoubtedly you have achieved some goals, learned new strategies, and contributed to the learning of students and colleagues.  Celebrate the positive at work

  6. Stay active.  As stress mounts it is important to engage in some physical activity that you enjoy: walk, swim, golf, stretch, or anything that will rev up blood flow.  At times it seems almost impossible to “break away” for these kinds of activities, but it is an important way to control anger, depression, nervousness, and other manifestations of stress.

  7. Organize your environment.  As simple as it sounds, it is helpful to take some time to organize your teaching environment.  Clean up your desk, file, rearrange furniture, sort, etc.  A little organization can give you a psychological boost.

  8. Talk out tough issues.  Find a trusted friend or colleague who you can talk to about the stress in your work life.  You will find that most teachers  experience the same types of stressors.  Try not to dump too many stress related concerns at home.  Keep work in perspective and keep it in its proper place.

  9. Be honest.  If someone is causing you disproportionate stress, talk to them; tell them how you are feeling.  If you keep stressful things boxed inside, they may become toxic. 

  10. Reflection.  When things are stressful, schedule time to reflect in solitude and quietness.  This is a good way to find perspective and subsequently manage stress.

  11. Take Breaks.  Don’t put yourself on overload—force yourself to take scheduled breaks: visit a colleague, take a short walk, have a cup of coffee away from your desk, listen to a favorite piece of music, meditate, etc.

  12. Work for clarity.  On a regular basis write down your teaching goals.  As stress builds, it is easy to lose track of what you really want to accomplish at work.  Clarity of purpose is a solid defense against work-related stress.


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