Updated: Nov 1, 2021
Education Without Limits (EWL) offers solutions to burnout, a concept our teachers understand because we’ve experienced it. While burnout may sound a bit like a buzzword of the self care industry, it’s responsible for a striking number of teachers leaving the profession each year.
Burnout has been increasing as the pandemic has progressed. Teachers have been forced to adapt to online instruction, socially distanced in-person classrooms, and an increasingly tense work environment within which parents are volatile about policies like mask mandates.
However, even prior to the pandemic’s existence:
Over 40 percent of new US-based teachers left the profession within the first five years.
Approximately 15 percent of all US-based teachers, or about 500,000 people, left the profession each year.
US teacher turnover was 50 percent higher in title 1 public schools, which typically serve low-income rural and urban communities within which families struggle with housing insecurity, homelessness, and immigration laws.
US teacher turnover was 70 percent higher in schools that serve a majority of BIPOC students.
In each of these situations, burnout has been to blame.
Typically, teachers experience burnout as an overwhelming and persistent sense of stress that makes it difficult-to-impossible to function. Central to teacher burnout is the feeling that an individual’s resources have been depleted and will not be sufficiently restored.
Causes of teacher burnout include:
A lack of literal classroom resources, including curricular materials.
A lack of time to adequately prepare instruction, assess instruction, and implement lessons that genuinely help students.
A lack of support from administrators, who are increasingly pressured to focus on whether test scores are sufficient to continue receiving limited federal funding
A lack of adequate pay, leaving many teachers needing to acquire additional part-time and freelance work that increases their sense of burnout.
Sustaining high levels of burnout not only causes many teachers to prematurely leave the profession; it also lowers the quality of instruction provided by teachers who resolve themselves to remain in their classrooms long-term.
EWL’s program ResourceHQ is one of our efforts to provide burnout relief.
Available via our website, ResourceHQ is a curated collection of educator resources. We’ve sorted these according to the following areas:
English language and literature
Health and wellness
History and social studies
Site visitors can access each category by clicking on the corresponding part of the dropdown menu that appears when you scroll over the words “ResourceHQ” on our site menu.
Alternatively, you can simply visit this page and then scroll down to the bottom to find a clickable table of the categories.
Clicking on each category reveals a list of resource names and summaries. You can expand each summary to show more information.
When you’re ready to visit the resource’s website, clicking the logo will take you there.
While other collections of resources certainly exist, EWL’s ResourceHQ is unique for a few reasons:
Each resource has been thoroughly vetted by active, or former, classroom teachers.
Each resource is available for free, or at low-cost, to teachers.
Each resource takes a comprehensive approach to its subject, offering educators lesson plans and related materials that can span the school year, rather than offering single lessons or materials that focus on only one special interest.
ResourceHQ is an evolving program, set to expand slowly over time.
However, as the program grows, we evaluate the content of our database to be sure that we’re allowing for choice without creating overwhelm. Our goal is to shorten and streamline planning time, not to make it more complex.
On that note, we recognize that ResourceHQ does require teachers to spend some time reviewing the highlighted resources, deciding which ones are the best fit, and then planning ways to incorporate these into unit plans and daily lessons.
In this sense, you can think of ResourceHQ as a rest stop along your journey as a teacher. Spending some time there helps reduce burnout and offers some of the supplies that might help you keep going.
However, if what you’re seeking is a dynamic, GPS-style map of your teaching experience, we’re also working on an interactive digital planning tool, LessonHQ.
LessonHQ will allow teachers to plan entire, standards-aligned units one click at a time, while also integrating social emotional learning practices and offering pathways to work with students whether or not their “starting point” is considered to be at grade level.
To help reduce teacher burnout in real time, take a look at ResourceHQ and be sure to share it with your colleagues.
Interested in our emerging digital planning tool? Go here to sign up for updates, to follow us on socials, and to see if joining our team is a good fit for you.
Finally, do you want to financially support our groundbreaking work in K-12 education? We accept fully tax-deductible contributions here.