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Have you ever come into the new year feeling burn out??



Senior Member
I'm struggling. I just went back to school last week and I'm just not feeling excited like I usually do. Can anyone give me a pep talk to get back in the swing of things? This is my 16th year teaching fourth grade ad I am the senior teacher in my grade level. I just feel like I have so much on my plate.
Sorry to be whiny!!!


Senior Member
You are not whiny!

Everyone I know is struggling, frustrated, and having a hard time this year.
I noticed a few years ago, that the start of the year was especially hard. Once I pinpointed why, it helped.
I taught 4th many years too. Here is something that will get better: At the beginning of the year, we tend to remember the kids we had the year before.
They were usually more mature and followed directions better. I always had to remind myself that in time, the new class would have the routines down and be easier. I had to remember they were a year younger too.
The start of every year, I think most teachers' plates are full. It seems like the last 10 years, they have piled more onto the plates!
I think there are certain times a year where most teachers have to work really hard to get everything done. Then there will be short lulls where you can catch your breath! Sorry, it is hard to give a big pep talk!
Just 2 things to look forward to are the lulls and the kids knowing your routines.
Good luck!


Senior Member
Yes! I left in June burned out from last year, and I'm still not as strong as I'd like to be this year. Tomorrow marks our 4th week of school, and I am still tired ALL THE TIME and feel like I'll never get ahead. And my assistant (I'm a librarian) goes out on 12 weeks of maternity leave soon.

I think to feel caught up a bit, I'm gonna have to:
-not socialize as much
-realize that not everything can be done in one day, or even one week
-prioritize a lot- no need for Super Teacher aspirations
-be sure to get good sleep
-maybe pick one day a week to stay late at work (like kind of really late) so I take no work home on weekends or in the evening

No one is alone in this struggle, because I know many of us are not emotionally well, and it's impacting us at work. QueenBee, you are NOT being whiny, and you WILL prevail!


Senior Member
Not exactly burned out, but I am more tired than usual. I feel tired in the face of the massive number of needs. Our SPED/support numbers have gone WAYYYY up. I feel behind when I've barely started.

desert flower

Senior Member
Yes. This year has been the worst! Everyone on my grade level is beyond burned out. It’s rough. New curriculum. Whiney parents who take complaints straight to admin and skip the teacher. More piled on our plates. This is year 22 for me and my last year. I can’t do it anymore. Three out of four fifth grade teachers, including me, are retiring at the end of the year. The teacher that is left is new to our team this year.


Senior Member
I retired early last June partly because I did not think this year would really be any better than last, but that admin and parents would expect we are all " back to normal" and we would be expected to get everyone on grade level. Plus they were adding in new, very rigorous reading units ( EL) that most kids will really struggle with. Just nope!

I taught for 36 years, the last 31 in 4th. The past 3 years have done a number on kids' academic and socialization abilities as well teacher's mental and physical health. I think everything will just take longer. This is the " new normal " for a while, though admin likes to pretend we are back to pre-covid normal. Nope.

Give yourself grace. You can only meet them where they are and bring them along as best you can.


Senior Member
That's because you DO have a lot on your plate. I always say, I think teaching is the only job that when you walk in the door for a new year, we're already behind because there's so much to do. Just take it a task at a time and try not to get yourself too overwhelmed. I know that used to be my problem. I learned to chunk my tasks and that seemed to help. I also gave myself permission to not have a cutesy/pintrest looking room, ever. Plus, I did only what absolutely had to be done. No energy to do add on stuff and that included taking on those wonderful "volunteer" requests in the building or district. I just kept saying no.

You'll get through this!
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NJ Teacher

Senior Member
I feel for you…

I was fortunate to be able to retire when I started to feel like you do. I never felt like I had a handle on all that was expected. It was stressful, exhausting and draining. And I began to feel like I had no personal life.

If you can, prioritize what is truly important. Not everything has to be graded, and kids can go over their work and check their own. I did that with my spelling workbooks and they loved it.

Prioritize you. Carve out time to go to the gym, see a friend, take a walk, or just veg with TV or a good book for awhile.

I agree with the other posters that you are not alone. Good luck. You got this.


Senior Member

You have gotten some good tips-you are not alone! I taught 4th for almost my entire career. One good thing is it's generally such a great age. The kids are mostly self sufficient and independent. I could never have taught the littles.

As for advice-take of yourself! Do something you love everyday outside of teaching to help with mental health.

Let go of any tasks you don't have to do. I like someone's suggestion about the grading part. Often, checkmarks were used to show I'd seen the work without a grade.

Use volunteers when you can-even student helpers can relieve some loads.

Plan some new project just for your students. I know I could get excited about something new. I loved the planning and research part. It can revitalize your spirit.
Good luck as you navigate this unprecedented time in teaching.