“Make sure to place your own mask on first before assisting others” – Self-care and Teaching

Teaching burnout hits new faculty and experienced faculty; it impacts college professors and K-12 teachers; it can cause mental and physical stress.

“Good teaching,” writes David Gooblar in the Chronicle, “is emotional work.” In our roles as instructors we absorb stress and anxiety from all sides – our students, our colleagues, our situations.

In an Edmodo post, a 5th grade teacher in Chicago who identifies himself only as Mr. Reed, recounts how he drove himself to emotional exhaustion in his first year as a teacher. His revelation that he needed to step away and take care of himself arrived from an unusual place – a safety announcement on an airplane: “In the event of an emergency, oxygen masks will release from above. Make sure to place your own mask on first before assisting others.”

Do you look to your own wellness before the wellness of others in the classroom? What do you do to balance the competing tugs at your attention from your students, your home life, your committee responsibilities, your research, your passions?

Read This:



image credit: “Burnout!” by Dennis Skley available under cc by-nd 2.0

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