From Burnout to Demoralized; and how to be Re-Moralized this School Year

From Burnout to Demoralized; and how to be Re-Moralized this School Year

Demoralize-

adjective

Having lost confidence or hope: disheartened

Re-moralize-

adjective

To gain back a feeling of hope or confidence when lost.

Why it’s important

Teachers are no longer considering themselves ‘burnt out’, instead new language has surfaced that describes what they are feeling with more accuracy and less accusatory tones, de-moralization.

The suggestion of “burn out” suggests that the teacher just couldn’t cut it, if they had taken more time for self care or prioritized their mental health they could have survived.

De-moralization suggests that the fault isn’t on the teachers and it’s not the fault of lacking mental health or self-care time. Instead the fault is with the system, the culture, and the valuing of education today. De-moralization points a finger at the lack of support, the amount of disrespect, the depreciation, and the increasing unrealistic demands.

De-moralization declares that the advice that teachers take a bubble bath or time for “themselves” in order to feel “better” is an absolute f*cking insult and is also major gas-lighting.

This new understanding of what is happening in school regarding the teacher profession just might be a more accurate way to frame and fix the many problems that exist. The idea of “burn out” and how trendy it has become actually gets in our way of creating viable and effective solutions. Resulting in higher attrition rates and more distaste for the profession.

What can we do?

I am sure you are wondering, so what? What can we do about it?

Well, we can start by changing the conversation with changing the language. If some one says, or writes, or posts something about teacher burnout, mention to them “demoralization”. I have been in the profession for 10 years and it wasn’t until this year that I learned that “demoralized” was even a thing. And I learned about it on Threads. Now I am writing about it, creating conversations about it… language is a powerful thing.

Next, we can learn from the research that exists and what teachers are saying. We can listen to each other and back each other up. When a colleague of yours sticks their neck out to complain about ridiculous expectations, inconsiderate scheduling, or heinous class sizes, we can back them up right there. We can lend our voice, or a clap, or just a nod, but we can not stay silent. We now know that these parts of teaching are directly linked to attrition and there is a plethora of evidence out there that can prove it. So speak up in that meeting, speak up at the board meeting, write a blog, create a reel… we now can speak the truths that we have known for so long, with the knowledge that it is backed up by undeniable evidence.

We can also look to teachers that have re-moralized themselves, fallen back in love with their job, or figured out what they needed to do to just not hate it. Hey, you’re not gonna love your job all the time right? We can listen to their stories, in fact there is a great book that includes teacher re-moralization stories called “Demoralized” by Doris A Santoro. In fact the book is filled with -concrete suggestion on how to re-moralize teachers. Some suggestions are-

-Take up a new assignment that ignites a passion

- Find joy and take time to laugh with students. For great info on how to use laughter in the classroom to reduce behaviors click here.

-Find a community of others feel similar ways or are going through similar issues (social media, meet ups, Facebook etc.)

-Start your own research and figure out what small thing can you do to help the problem

-Refuse to administer state tests (I laughed out loud at this one, but I get it)

Never in U.S history have teachers had so much power. Let's not temporarily solve the problems and then return back to the “normal.” Let’s work to change the profession so future generations of teachers never have to feel the way we have felt. Let’s use our voices, our votes, our platforms to re-moralize.

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