{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I am in my 5th year of teaching at a very high needs school. I feel like I have internalized so much of my students’ trauma and staff culture is excessively negative. How does everyone combat burnout?", "post_id": "5cc850394205c7001b9f1dee", "reply_count": 5, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "5c751b9f2f6b98001bc666f8", "bowl_name": "Teachers" }

I am in my 5th year of teaching at a very high needs school. I feel like I have internalized so much of my students’ trauma and staff culture is excessively negative. How does everyone combat burnout?

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Honestly I seek out counseling of my own, and try to leave my school problems at schools. I’m in the same boat, and this year we have new, unqualified people running our district who are just making the problems worse for everyone. Sometimes I take a day to stay home by myself and mentally recharge

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I am actually a Social Worker who provides Mental Health services in a High School. I think you’re experience is very common and your question is brilliant! The fact, first and foremost, that you recognize that vicarious trauma is real is a step in the right direction. It will help combat falling prey to negativity and burnout. Finding yourself a trusted and like-minded colleague to process things with is important - someone who offers support, understanding and balance is critical. (The previous comment about separating from the negativity as much as possible is a point well taken). Making self care habitual is also critical. Hobbies that you enjoy, work outs, yoga, mindfulness... you can’t take care of anyone unless you have taken care of yourself. Make it a practice at school as well as free hours. Close your door during lunch or a break and create some down time for you. Make it pretty much sacred do not disturb time to recharge your batteries. Listen to a positive pod cast, meditation music, music that lifts your mood, read etc. Try and keep a balanced perspective- this one is hard because we do what we do because we love and want to help kids. That being said, sometimes we feel like what we have offered has had no impact but the truth be told you are planting seeds may not evidence themselves until well beyond the time that student has left you. You are leaving an imprint that the student that might be a life line for them throughout the day but they’ll never directly express that. Kiddos need someone who can see beyond the obvious and acknowledge the good in them. ( Good kids make bad choices, traumatized kids are in survival mode. It doesn’t always look pretty and we often lose track of the fact they’re still kids... most reacting the only way they know) Recognize that you can make a difference without maybe ever knowing it’s happening. Some will end up on the wrong path despite our very best efforts....all we can do is hope and pray that our message will resonate somewhere in the future and help them find a better direction. Without babbling much longer 😉... make use of your school social worker or psychologist. We are not just a support to students but hopefully to our teammates as well! Job well done! Five years is a long time to work with students who come to us with bigger concerns on their minds than the curriculum we have planned for the day. You’re obviously a very compassionate teacher!

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I’ve been in a similar boat for almost 10 years. By year 6-7 I was able to find some distance between my heart and the trauma I am exposed to. Not enough to make me not care, but enough to let it go when I leave school. Most of the time. I also sought counseling myself for a bit, which helped. Finding peaceful hobbies like hiking and regular exercise that you can enjoy is good too. Just know that your love and kindness does make a difference. You may not see it now, but someday, one of those kids is going to come back and thank you. That day will make it all worth it. I often think about my job as a calling- a mission that I’ve been placed here and uniquely trained in life to do. I believe that God puts each of my kids into my life to teach ME....and I pray that I can love and inspire them while they are with me and long after. 💕

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It doesn't always work and it is always a struggle, but I try to really hang on to those kids, those moments, when you know you made some kind of a difference or got through." The negative culture of my school is a real problem and all I do anymore is separate myself.

Enjoying my Summer. Giving myself time off when school's out for vacations. You have to take care of you.

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