Fireproof: Building Teacher Resilience!

Feeling a little burnout? Find strategies to build your resilience! 

Recognize the importance of building teacher resilience through this informative, interactive webinar for teachers and administrators. Learn about resilience and the impacts of teacher burnout on a school community. After watching this webinar, you will have easy to implement strategies to build teacher resilience through self-awareness, self-care, support measures, community building, fluff-eradication and efficient planning. 

Below is a recording of the presentation slides and additional items from the webinar. We hope these will help you in building your teacher resilience - and get you well on your way to becoming fireproof!

How do Administrators support you in your work? 

(responses from webinar attendees)

  • S.O.S Awards: If someone goes above and beyond to help another staff member, they receive an S.O.S Award. The award is an actual life preserver that we hang behind our desk for a week. An email also goes out telling everyone what happened and how it was earnerd. This also reminded and helped us to be thankful.
  • We have a new building principal and he quietly supports us and makes us feel that what we are doing is of value.
  • Our principal is always very visible during Parent/Teacher conferences and provideds snacks and water for all the teachers during conferences.  

Questions and Answers from the Webinar:

vector-flames.pngWe received an abundance of amazing questions during the webinar. We wanted to make sure we addressed all the applicable questions and shared them with you. 

Q: What are the signs of burnout?

A: The signs of teacher burnout are different for everyone.  Many teachers will be tired, physical and emotionally.  Some might describe this as exhaustion.   At times, teachers will detach or withdraw and avoid interaction with others.  Many teachers find themselves asking why and questioning their choice to become an educator.  Often, self-doubt creeps in.  In some educators, burnout might look like boredom or resistance to new methods.  Some might set unrealistic expectation of perfection in their classroom or for themselves.  Many times, a teacher suffering from burnout might complain chronically or focus on the next school break.  Unfortunately, burn out can also lead to an educator neglecting self-care.

Q: If you notice the signs of burnout in another teacher, how can you help them?

A: If you are noticing some warning signs in another teacher and have a solid relationship built with them, you might start a conversation by asking how their year is going.  You could let them know that you have noticed their struggles (and tell them what you see.)  When you do this, focus on positives that you have seen as well and allow them to share why they became a teacher in the first place.  Remind them of successes they have had.  Help them develop a plan to increase resilience and self-care.  If they need more support, you could recommend that they communicate their needs to their administrator.

Q: What supports do you recommend if you are experiencing very high burnout? 

A: If an educator is experiencing very high burnout and is not taking steps to increase resilience or practice self-care, it is important that they are communicating with their administrators.  Many districts have programs for mental health support or resources.  It is not unheard of for a teacher with burnout to seek out counseling.  Districts may also be willing to consider a sabbatical or reassignment to save a good teacher.  

Q: What are some general ways to increase resilience??

A:  Get to know yourself (strengths, interests, learning style, etc.)  Develop a self-care routine.  Develop new connections and strengthen old relationships.  Set boundaries for yourself and others.  Practice overcoming hurdles in everyday life.  Remember, you have a purpose.  Reframe (or flip) your thinking to positive thoughts.  Learn to improvise.  Volunteer (and be compassionate.)  Develop an awesome sense of humor and LAUGH!  Exercise and LAUGH!  Be kind to yourself!

Q: What books do you recommend to increase resilience?

  • “First Aid for Teacher Burnout” by Jenny Rankin
  • “The Spark:  Overcome Burnout and Reclaim Your Passion for Teaching” by James Kiger
  • “The Fireproof Teacher:  Seven Strategies for Preventing Teacher Burnout” by John Spencer

Q: How do you explain leaving another school because of burnout but want to teach at another school?

A: First, burnout can have many causes and just about as many warning signs.  If your burnout it caused by your responsibility or surroundings, it would be natural to seek a better fit.  Making (even a slight change) in your environment could decrease the level of burnout you are feeling.  When you are interviewing, you should be honest about your feelings and why you think you got to the point of burnout.  Don't stop there, though!  Share your plans with how you will build your resilience and avoid burnout in a new position.  Administrators look for self-aware teachers, and if you have a plan to address it, EVEN BETTER!

Looking for More?

vector-flames.pngIf this topic has sparked an interest in you, or you simply want and need to learn more about the importance of building teacher resilience, let us suggest a few resources and courses that may be of interest:

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Blog Post: 5 Ways to Start the School Year Off Right with Your Students' Parents

Blog Post: 8 Ways to Start the Year Off Right with Your Colleagues

Blog Post: 4 Easy and Natural Ways to Reduce Your Stress

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