Achievable Survival Strategies for Teachers: Avoiding End of Year Burnout

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Achievable Survival Strategies for Teachers: Avoiding End of Year Burnout

The end of the school year is in sight, but there are still a number of weeks (and more than a few lessons) to get through before you clock out for a well-deserved break.

What if you could end the school year feeling calm, refreshed, and ready to enjoy your summer instead of burned out and desperate for a break?

It’s absolutely possible with a few key, achievable survival strategies. 

Avoiding end of year burnout

About this time of year, many teachers feel like they are reaching their breaking point. 

But you don’t want to spend the last months and weeks of your school year feeling exhausted, stretched too thin, and ready to crash. 

Instead of burning out and collapsing at the finish line, try these simple, achievable survival strategies:

  • Stay organized
  • Delegate tasks
  • Set realistic goals
  • Take care of your needs

This is not the time of year for setting big goals or overhauling your classroom. It’s all about maintaining the work you’ve put in for the first three-fourths of the school year and staying consistent through the last day of school.

You can enjoy this time of year – it just takes some intention and a few smart strategies.

Achievable survival strategy #1: Stay organized

The last bit of the school year comes with a lot to keep up. Theme days, field trip forms, grades, end-of-year projects… it all adds up. 

Last-minute stress is a huge contributor to burnout. You can avoid it by keeping dates, papers, and forms organized from the beginning.

Take a few minutes on your next plan period to look through all the remaining dates and put them into a digital calendar and/or a physical planner. Make sure they are recorded somewhere you will see them and set reminders as necessary. 

At the end of every day, set aside 10 minutes to organize your physical space. You can even get your students in on it – set a timer and have the whole class focus on cleaning up their space. You can organize papers and clean off your desk while your students focus on their areas. 

The more organized you are, the less stressed out you will be – knowing exactly where the forms you need are and when you have to plan to dress like your favorite book character will help you show up and actually enjoy this season.

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Achievable survival strategy #2: Delegate tasks

You can’t do it all, and trying to will lead you straight to burnout.

Prioritize delegating tasks as much as possible to lighten your end-of-year workload.

You can delegate many classroom tasks to students, especially at this point in the year. Giving students jobs and responsibilities makes them feel needed and capable, and it takes some of the work off your plate. That’s win-win! 

Some tasks you can delegate to students (depending on the age you teach):

  • Returning books to the library
  • Watering classroom plants
  • Cleaning up desks and tables
  • Organizing centers
  • Re-shelving classroom books
  • Assembling homework folders
  • Passing out papers

You can also delegate to your grade-level team. The more you can collaborate with other teachers, the more everyone benefits. You can rotate shared tasks like making copies, choosing read-aloud books, and setting up themed centers. Strategic teamwork is one of the best ways to avoid burnout.

Parents are also a great source for delegating projects and tasks. Ask for a few volunteers to come in and help set up for a special project or request supplies for an upcoming activity. Parents love a reason to help, so don’t forget to ask! 

Achievable survival strategy #3: Set realistic goals

Now is not the time for big goals. 

As you reflect on your class’s growth this year, resist the urge to push toward an unrealistic milestone. Celebrate the progress you’ve made and set small, reasonable goals as you move toward the finish line. 

Prioritize the things that must happen before school ends and treat everything else as an added bonus. You can help yourself stay realistic and on track by writing down all remaining goals in three categories: Must Do, Would Like to Do, Probably Won’t Do.

You can also use this time to get inspired and make plans for next year. If you find yourself wishing you’d introduced a cozy reading corner or used a cool phonics strategy you just learned about, make plans to do those things at the start of the next school year. 

Just because you didn’t get to something this year doesn’t mean you can’t ever do it. Write it down and get ahead on next year’s plans without stressing yourself out over it this year.

Achievable survival strategy #4: Take care of your needs

Basic self-care is one of the best ways to avoid burnout. While a bubble bath may be a nice treat, self-care often looks more practical or simple. 

Think about the things that help you feel more balanced, recharged, and peaceful. Those are the things you want to prioritize to truly care for yourself.

Some things to consider:

  • Taking a daily walk
  • Getting enough sleep, especially during the school week
  • Eating healthy, nourishing meals
  • Spending time with friends and family
  • Getting outside – especially as it starts to warm up
  • Journaling or reflecting

You are a better teacher when you prioritize your own self-care. Being intentional about taking care of your basic needs can help you avoid the pain of end of year burnout.

4 achievable survival strategies for teachers

You have put so much hard work and energy into this school year, so why not enjoy the fruits of your labor with a calm, fun end of year? 

Instead of setting big goals, stressing yourself out, and waiting until the last minute to prepare for the activities and special days that are coming up, use these 4 achievable survival strategies – staying organized, delegating tasks, setting realistic goals, and taking care of yourself – to avoid end of year burnout.

With these simple strategies in hand, you’re equipped to handle the chaos that is the end of a school year! 

Want to help your students enjoy the end of their school year, too? Download the 10 Ways to Build a Positive Classroom Community Guide

This guide is full of easy-to-implement ideas that you can use to help your students feel more connected and enjoy being in your classroom in the last few weeks or months of the school year. 

Click here to download 10 Ways to Build a Positive Classroom Community Guide now >>

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