Preschoolers are a lot of fun to work with. Watching them grow brings you immense joy and pride. They are also a lot of work, though. Between the potentially long hours, if you do not plan well, and the need to be constantly “on”, it can be both emotionally and physically demanding work. It is important that you take care of yourself in order to avoid burnout as a preschool teacher. Here are some tips for avoiding burnout.
1. GET PLENTY OF SLEEP
Quality sleep is essential. Your overall health is affected by the quantity and quality of your sleep, so be sure to get to bed at a reasonable hour each night. Even adults can benefit from having a set bedtime. Just like your preschoolers, you will perform better when you have a consistent bedtime routine. Having a set wake-up time is important too. Having consistent bedtime and wake-up times that you stick to, even on weekends, will help you wake up more easily feeling more refreshed. It will also make going to sleep at night easier.
2. KEEP YOUR WORK AT WORK
Nothing will put you on the fast track to burnout quite like bringing work home. Complete as much work as you can at work. If you cannot get your work done at work, then don’t be afraid to delegate some tasks out to your co-teachers or assistants.
3. CREATE SYSTEMS
Creating systems for all of the tasks that you are responsible for on a daily basis in your preschool classroom will help to ensure that you are able to keep your work at work. For example, you can setup a system to streamline your observations and portfolios. Do this by strategically placing clipboards with sticker labels throughout your classroom. This will make it easy to write down observations and then later put them into your preschoolers’ portfolios. After that, just add a picture or piece of artwork.
You can create systems for other areas of your life as well, which will free up even more time for you. Meal prepping can save a lot of time, and it is a great way to ensure healthy eating habits. Staying healthy is also another way to avoid burnout.
4. SCHEDULE TIME FOR YOURSELF
If it is not on your calendar, or on your to-do list, you probably will not do it. Make self care a standard on your list of things to do. Set aside a bit of time for yourself each day to do something that you enjoy. It can be something you do solo or with family or friends. As a teacher, you are always interacting with others, so having some quiet time to yourself is always beneficial.
5. TAKE VACATIONS
We all need a break sometimes. Even if you are not going to go away, take some time off every now and then. Have a staycation, or go on a trip. It doesn’t matter, as long as you are able to have time off of from work and you can relax and refresh.
Preschool teachers work hard to foster their students’ development and collaborating with families, so they really have to work hard to avoid burnout. Getting plenty of sleep and staying healthy should be top priority in avoid burnout as a preschool teacher though.