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Many teachers have lost their pre-pandemic sense of accomplishment. Then some of those teachers struggled to continue teaching at all.
A study conducted between March and June of 2020 administered a series of tests, including a burnout inventory similar to the MBI, to more than 3,500 healthcare workers in the UK, Poland and Singapore. Just under 67% measured as burnt out.
While historically the true burnout profile for employees in all professions hovers just above 10%.
And that’s a huge problem, because true burnout can’t be fixed with a vacation or a wellness retreat.
Avoiding true burnout on a wide scale is vital, especially because it could mean a drain of qualified people from skilled professions.
Self-Assessment of Teacher Burnout
Some experts say we’re not actually as burned out as we may think.
So, What is burnout?
People use burnout as a synonym for tired, and they’re missing the point that there’s a world of difference between those two states
On lots of occasions, I’ve told myself – and my friends and colleagues – that I’m experiencing burnout. Making a living as a freelancer can often mean working long hours, and trying to keep a lot of very different plates spinning at once. A few times a year, I hit what feels like a creative wall: I’m fresh out of good ideas, and I just really need to nap. For a long time, I’ve been calling that burnout. But I’ve been wrong.
We tend to think of burnout as an intangible – one of those things we can’t define, and we just know when we feel it. Right now, more of us may be feeling it than ever. In this stage of the pandemic, after more than a year spent trying to navigate its challenges, the general feeling is that we’ve all hit the wall.
But there is a scientific definition of burnout, and standards by which to measure it. And based on that criteria, a lot of folks who think they’re burnt out – myself included – really aren’t. That doesn’t mean we aren’t on the way there, though, and understanding how to really measure burnout can help individuals and organisations change course before it’s too late.
How to measure teacher burnout?
The biggest misconception about burnout is that it’s the same as exhaustion. For example, obstetricians, who often work chaotic schedules, are totally exhausted, but they’re bringing new life into the world, and making people’s lives better, and they care about that work.
The second largest group, after people who are just exhausted, is people who aren’t fully engaged. They’re going to work and it’s not exciting, it just pays the bills.
There’s another group that are just cynical. They don’t care about the clientele, or the work.
Still others may have low efficacy, with careers that are stalled for one reason or another.
Maslach’s Burnout Inventory
In 1981, Christina Maslach, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, developed the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), to define and measure the condition.
- The MBI attempts to clarify the subject by evaluating burnout based on three criteria: exhaustion or total lack of energy, feelings of cynicism or negativity toward a job and reduced efficacy or success at work.
- Respondents get scores in all three areas along a continuum, from more positive to more negative.
- A burnout profile requires a negative score in all three.
- So, in summary, scoring negatively on one measure, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re burnt out.
Teacher Burnout spectrum
- Burnout is a spectrum, and most of us are on it. Early this year, when job search site Indeed surveyed 1,500 US workers across ages and industries, more than half reported that they’re experiencing burnout. And more than two-thirds said the pandemic had made burnout worse.
That survey did not use the MBI, and chances are most of those respondents were using the colloquial definition of burnout, not the scientific one.
- But while burnout – the kind defined by three negative MBI scores – is a profile that Maslach says typically applies to 10% to 15% of people, that doesn’t mean everyone else is all the way on the other end of the spectrum.
- In fact, Maslach and Leiter’s newer research identifies three profiles in between: overextended, ineffective and disengaged.
- Evidence suggests more than half of employees fall into one of these profiles, with a strong negative score in exhaustion, efficacy or cynicism.
- Schoolteachers have struggled to continue teaching, and haven’t felt accomplished. They just know they’re not being the teacher they were before.
Why teacher burnout measurement matters
- Avoiding true burnout on a wide scale is vital, especially because it could mean a drain of qualified people from skilled professions. That’s where the MBI, and tests like it, become invaluable tools.
- Whilst, administered to individuals, the MBI measures working environments.
- An organisation seeing scores on the negative end of the spectrum should be acting quickly.
Our related Well-Being content
HOW TO BECOME an 11 plus tutor
Although many 11-plus exams claim to be tutor-proof, coaching for secondary school entrance tests is a huge industry. Parents want to give their child any possible advantage over the competition, so there is a high demand for good 11-plus tutors. More than a quarter of state school pupils are estimated to have had some form of private tuition.
There are no formal requirements or qualifications for becoming an 11-plus tutor. In theory, anyone can set up as an independent tutor. However, you will need a supply of past papers and other teaching resources. Set up an online profile for your tutoring business and use social media and online 11-plus forums and directories to find clients. Tutors often get referrals by word of mouth. Your business will only thrive if you can successfully coach children to pass grammar school and private school entrance exams!
Tutoring agencies employ 11 plus tutors
So, many tutoring agencies employ 11-plus tutors on a freelance basis. They will typically take a commission, but provide tutoring resources. Tutoring agencies typically require their tutors to be educated to an undergraduate degree level. Additionally, they expect tutors to have a DBS certificate. Tutors may also consider taking out liability insurance. Yes, it is a very good idea. Even though your child may be capable of getting into grammar school, it is important they familiarise themselves with the types of questions that could be asked, the format of the exam papers and how to perform under exam conditions to give themselves the best chance. There is not a one size fits all solution! However, generally speaking, we advise no more than 12 months of tuition for the Eleven Plus. So, starting at the beginning of Year 5 is probably a good time. At the very latest, January of Year 5 for exams taking place in September of Year 6.
How do you choose the right tutor?
Word of mouth is often the best way. Look for tutors who’ve gained positive reviews from other parents and successfully prepared students for the 11-Plus exam in your area. However, don’t take recommendations as gospel. What’s important is that your child gets on with their tutor. Many tutoring services will be happy to offer trial sessions at a lower rate so you can get a feel for the tutor before committing to full-priced lessons.
How much tutoring is needed?
Once again there is no precise answer about how much is the right amount. During term time, most tutors will hold a weekly session of between 60 to 90 minutes with additional homework set each week. In the holidays the tutor may also recommend extra sessions. This is especially important in the summer period leading up to the 11 Plus exams in Autumn.
This section is for those for fancy a change and wants to practice a different type (and difficulty) of test. For example the 11+ exam. There are a wide variety of different practice test formats and difficulties shown below.