Working day in and day out with small children can be very stressful both physically and mentally. For the daycare director it is imperative that staff members exhibiting signs of burnout be identified and assisted. By doing this the daycare director can mentor the staff while helping them develop professionally, and can ensure that great experiences happen in the classroom for the children and the staff.
Here are 8 classic signs often exhibited when a staff member is feeling that classroom burn-out.
1. If a teacher chronically reports to work late, something is wrong. There are variations of this behavior. One person may arrive at the front door late and have a catalog of believable explanations for tardiness. Another may arrive promptly at the front door to punch the time clock but disappear into the restroom or supply closet thus arriving at the classroom tardy. Both signs indicate the staff member has really lost that excitement and energy that is so vital to classroom work.
2. If a teacher finds it difficult to complete reports, or there are missing reports or late reports, red flags should go up for the director. Teachers who are actively involved with the learning progress of their students find time to record that data. An occasional late report can happen, but routinely pushing that report off the teacher’s To-Do-List is a big time signal.
3. Staff absence records, whether scheduled or unscheduled, can be a tip-off also. A well recognized pattern is the staff member who is absent only on a Friday or a Monday. This creates a 3-day break. A staff member might also call in absent the day before or day after a holiday to create a longer time away from the daycare. And another staff member may schedule a dental appointment on the day of the class field trip or parent conference day. Directors can chart these absences to see if they show any pattern.
4. Often employees who are suffering from classroom burn-out will show a distinct disinterest in what their class is doing. Directors can listen to casual conversation and often learn the teacher’s real involvement or lack of involvement in classroom activities.
5. Teachers who feel stressed in the classroom often find many reasons to leave the classroom. That could mean going to the restroom often; going to the office to copy something, needing to schedule a parent conference during the day when it could be scheduled outside classroom time.
6. Employees who express dissatisfaction with their co-workers or parents are often expressing dissatisfaction with their work situation. Everyone needs to get a paycheck so a direct expression of frustration about the work situation isn’t always possible. The next easiest target may be a co-worker or parent.
7. Every school has extra curricular activities that teachers can participate in. If a staff member repeatedly declines to participate in these events or has no good comments to make about these events is probably means there is dissatisfaction seething underneath.
8. Educators who are stressed at home with personal problems often bring that stress to work. If the director can identify a teacher that is bearing the burden of personal problems it is often a good idea to chat with that member to see where the director can be of assistance.
Teaching is a very difficult job. It takes a good network of professionals to assist each other during a time that may prove stressful to the classroom teacher. The reward is quality classroom activity, a happier and healthier staff, and a much lower turnover rate in programs. Definitely worth the effort.