Life Skills Radio Ep.05: Teacher Burnout and Self-Care

Lifeskills Self-Care and Teacher Burnout

In this episode, host Jennifer Russell and guest Darcy Schiller discuss teacher burnout: how to avoid it, and the importance of self-care for special education teachers.

Audio Transcript

Download the full audio transcript.

Jennifer Russell:
Hey, everybody. You’re listening to LifeSkills Radio. I’m your host, Jennifer Russell, and joining me today is fellow Region 13 education specialist, Darcy Schiller.

I’m really excited to have Darcy here because she has a wealth of knowledge on the topic that we’re going to be discussing today which is teacher burnout and the importance of self care for special education teachers.

Welcome, Darcy.

Darcy:              
Hi, Jennifer.

Jennifer Russell:
Darcy, I am so glad you’re here. Every profession comes with a certain amount of stress but working in a special education classroom brings a unique set of challenges which we’ll get into a little later.

Earlier, you shared some interesting and pretty staggering statistics with me about special education teachers leaving the profession due to burnout. Let’s talk about those first.

Darcy:              
Yes, Jennifer. The statistics are pretty grim. 13% of special ed teachers leave the profession every year. 50% leave within the first five years of starting.

Jennifer Russell:
Whoa.

Darcy:              
Of those that last passed five years, another 50% of those will leave within the next five years. Teacher attrition rates have risen significantly over the last two decades.

The burnout rate for teachers is higher than any other profession requiring a Bachelor’s degree.

Jennifer Russell:
Whoa. That’s incredible. You and I talk all the time about how we think being a special education teacher is the greatest profession on Earth-

Darcy: 
Yes.

Jennifer Russell:
But that it’s also the most difficult. Why is that? What differentiates the stress that special ed teachers experience from the stress that other professionals experience?

Darcy:              
Okay. Well, first, let’s start with that quote that you and I always share with teachers which is teaching is easy. It’s like riding a bike. Only the bike is on fire and you’re on fire. Everything’s on fire.

Darcy:              
We laugh but it’s so true. There’s no other quote that describes the job that I had. It’s the most rewarding profession but also the most challenging.

Darcy: 
Think about what the teacher brain has to keep track of. You ready?

Jennifer Russell:
Ready.

Darcy:
Lesson plans, sub plans, IEPs, BIPs, parent conferences, parent volunteers, grading papers, submitting grades, progress reports, collecting data, special schedules, students medications, students allergies, the clean up son, the days of the week song, ESY, books to read, field trip forms, fire drill, and so on and so on and so on.

Jennifer Russell:
Oh my gosh. I think I just had a tiny panic attack. I know that list isn’t even complete. I know from my experience that, in many cases, special education teachers are teaching without enough materials. They’re making their own teaching materials, spending their own money and spending countless hours outside of work doing IEP paperwork and other paperwork.

Jennifer Russell:
LifeSkills teachers, as you and I know, also teach all subjects plus daily living skills like toileting and feeding. They teach students with very complex needs. Sometimes really significant medical needs and behaviors and, unlike other teachers, they are typically responsible for managing other adults in the classroom as well.

Download full transcript

Checkout the rest of the lifeskills series

Listen to the Series

JenniferRussell

JenniferRussell

View all posts

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Region 13

Advertisement

Get the Best of Region 13 In Your Inbox