How to Handle Teacher Burnout as an Online ESL Teacher

It’s Summertime and with students out of school, that means many of you will be seeing busier schedules. That can be great for the bank balance but too many early mornings and late nights can start to take a toll on even the most dedicated teacher. So Teacher Julie is here with some advice on how to spot impending burnout and what to do about it. Thanks, Julie!
Julie is a work-from-home, homeschooling mom of three young boys. She is a marketing executive for a U.S. based online shopping club and earned her Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies. Her family is active in Cub Scouts and enjoys camping and gardening together.  
Peak summer season is upon us! It is an exciting time for ESL teachers, but in my experience, I have found that the side effects of this season can take a toll if you are not aware of it and take precautions to avoid it. Ask any veteran teacher if they have ever experienced burnout, and they will likely say yes. What is burnout? In this article, I will share with you ways to recognize teacher burnout and ways to handle it.

Personal Experience

In the summer peak-teaching season, I have to be careful not to overdo it. I am sure I am not the only teacher who has the urge to teach every single class possible in order to maximize my earning potential during this busy time. I spend time calculating how much cash flow I can generate while all of these extra teaching opportunities are available to me. Doubling my typical income is possible for about two months and that is a big deal to my family's financial situation. Anyone who has set some sort of debt-free goals that they are working towards, I am sure can relate.

During my years as a Qkids teacher, I have found that if I implemented a few strategies I can fend off teacher burnout and with the recent updates to scheduling, I think that this is going to be the best summer yet!  

One of my personal rule I set on myself is to make sure I am getting at least 7 hours of sleep. If when I go to bed and I check my wake-up alarm and I am not going to gain at least seven hours of sleep I will request off my early classes until at least 7 solid hours of sleep is possible. This personal boundary helps me stave off sleep deprivation as it has a negative impact on my health and this personal boundary also motivates me to get to bed on time so that I don’t lose the income opportunity. Doing this has helped me stay disciplined with going to bed on time and keeps me from suffering the negative impact sleep deprivation has on my health. Given the general policy of giving notice at least five hours in advance and using the teacher phone app makes this incredibly easy to do. Qkids really does want you to be rested and happy to teach. Loading up your schedule with classes to reach your financial goals can be enticing, just know that burnout is something to be aware of because it does happen to even the best of us.  

Signs of Teacher Burnout and How I Deal with It

Dread Teaching

Teaching English online is a really fun way to earn extra income for your family. But, it also takes a lot of positive energy to be an online English teacher. Sometimes life leaves folks feeling less than positive and everyone has a bad day once in a while. If you find that you are grumpy from lack of sleep, or from life in general and are dreading teaching your next set of classes, I encourage you to take a nap if possible or go ahead and request classes off and get yourself a good night's rest. Even a hot soak in the bathtub with some Epsom salts can rejuvenate one's attitude.

An Influx of “red tag" Feedback

The family feedback tags can also be an indicator that you might want to lighten up your class load for a couple of days. If you notice that you are getting more suggestions for improvement via the family feedback tags your performance may be suffering due to teacher burnout. Lack of energy, tired appearance, and being less encouraging in general can be a signal to you that you may need a little break.  Don't feel guilty for requesting the time off to rest!  Remember, "no worries'  with at least five hours of notice! Try not to take advantage of this policy, there is a balance to be struck but it is true that Qkids want you performing at your best!

Trouble Staying Awake during Classes

Most online English teachers typically get up pretty early in the morning for class. That means we must have earlier bedtimes than most folks. During peak summer hours when Qkids opens up weekday evening class times, it can be challenging for teachers to adjust to staying up later than we do the rest of the year. Keeping your eyes open during that last class of the evening can sometimes take more effort than it should and parents will notice those long blinks if you are not careful. A clear sign that you are struggling is when your coach politely sends you a screenshot of you from class in which it appears you have nodded off.  At that point, I decided that staying up that late does not work for me and I just need to stop trying! Know your limits and make adjustments as needed. I have also found that standing while teaching is helpful in keeping energy levels high, so if that is an option for you I suggest giving it a try if you are struggling to make it through those later classes.

Have you experienced teacher burnout? Share in the comments some tips and tricks you have implemented to keep burnout at bay! If this is your first summer peak season teaching English online then you are in for a treat! It really is a fun time, just be sure to keep tabs on your health and keep these indicators of teacher burnout in mind so that the fun remains throughout the season. If you are thinking of joining in on the fun I encourage you to apply here to become a Qkids teacher! Teaching English online with Qkids is a fun way to reach your financial goals and the support you will receive from the company is truly amazing. This will be my third peak summer season with Qkids and I look forward to many more to come.  

Happy Teaching!
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