So actual burn out is pretty darn serious… But, if you work in education, consider this list below and see how many of these you can identify with. Or think about how many of these you see affecting others:
- critical boss
- lack of recognition
- inadequate pay
- tasks with no end
- impossible tasks / nearly impossible problems for solving
- difficult clients (e.g. students)
- incompatible demands (many demands that may not be achieved together)
- conflicting roles (home, family)
- value conflicts (personal / workplace values)
- meaninglessness of achieved goals
- social and emotional skills deficit
This is pretty much just pasted in from the Wikipedia entry on short-term burnout, also known as occupational burnout.
I’m not suggesting that everyone working in education is actually burnt out. It’s just a sensational headline to grab your attention.
However, I do think that if we work in education we are in danger. The reason is we tend to care about what we do.
Typically, we tend to be strongly motivated, dedicated, and involved in our work. For better or worse, we tend to find meaning doing what we do. And this means that when we don’t achieve our goals or if the job fails meet our expectations we get frustrated or start to feel exhausted.
If this continues over time, we end up feeling drained, become cynical, and generally become negative and crappy at our jobs.
And, sure it’s not full blown burnout. But it’s still debilitating and can be hard to come back from. Some times it’s easier to quit your job.
I think that’s why one of the major issues in tertiary teaching, particularly for those work with youth, and in trades and vocational training in general, is the churn rate.
Two questions for you then:
- How can we prevent this kind of short term, occupational burn out?
- How can we make it better for tutors who are feeling the effects?
- Can we stop or at least slow the churn rate for trades or vocational tutors by dealing with the effects of short-term burn out?
Ok… that was three questions. What do you think?