5 Ways To Survive A Terrible Year Teaching

Terrible Year Teaching

If you are experiencing teacher burnout from a terrible year teaching, I reassure you that you are not alone. The mental (and often physical) toll that teaching can convey on a body is no game. Burnout is one of the top causes of teachers leaving the classroom.

I struggled with my final year teaching due to the stress and a very toxic work environment. Eventually, I ended up taking a peek around and understanding that being a teacher wasn’t a good match for me. 

Just only making it through the end of the year was a test. That year I found myself at the doctor multiple times due to stress-related illnesses. 

In the last few months of school, I often cried on my way to work out of sheer dread. For those struggling with teacher burnout, here are some tips to make it through the end of the school year of a terrible year teaching.

Write It All Down

If you are feeling at your lowest, it’s crucial to track your feelings. Have a notebook or a calendar, and observe your moods fluctuate using a color-coded chart. Use darker colors like black and blue to represent very depressed, blue for sad, red for anxious, and yellow for somewhat happy, and green for very happy.

If you feel terrible for weeks (in my case months), you may think you’ll never get out of the slump. During this time, monitor your activities, such as not drinking or working out. Tracking other activities will help you identify any factors that contribute to helping you feel better. In addition to this, when you are struggling, it can seem like you’ll NEVER get past the depression. With a color-coded journal, you can view small but subtle changes in the right direction.


Get Healthy

If possible, attempt to work out, eat healthily, and don’t drink alcohol. The healthier your body feels, the more comfortable it can manage the stress.

It wasn’t very easy for me to take care of myself in my last year of teaching, but I could recognize an improvement in my headspace when I made an effort.


Limit Your Workload

Just say no. Don’t take home additional work; don’t volunteer for something you mentally cannot manage. Keeping the overwhelm to a minimum is the most important thing for you right now.

Look at your current workload to see what you can take off your plate. Can you have your students self grade some of their homework so that you have a few hours back over the weekend? Can you skip adding a new bulletin board up every month? Teachers overextend themselves with extra work and experience extreme guilt when they don’t overdeliver.


Angela Watson, from Truth For Teachers, has an excellent explaining why teachers should value their time like they value their money.

Keep Yourself Motivated

Remind yourself that terrible year teaching is only temporary. The journal that you use in the first strategy will help with that. It may be a long day, week, or year – but eventually, you’ll be past this.

Keep a vision board on display to help motivate you and look forward to how you’ll feel when you overcome this. Use images that represent your dream job or life, how you’ll feel once you’ve mastered this and other items in your future.


About Teacher Career Coach

I hope this post has helped you understand my mission. My goal is to help bring clarity to any teachers who are suffering from the pain I experienced during my own career transition of leaving teaching.

If you are beginning to weigh your options, my free newsletter is a great place to get started. I’ll send you resources about career transitions, strategies to help prevent burnout, and ways to make extra $$ while you’re still in the classroom.

If you have been waiting for a step-by-step guide to help you leave the classroom, sign up for The Teacher Career Coach Course. I’ve spent countless hours building this resource with the consultation of an HR professional with 10+ years in experience and over 1,000 teachers’ most commonly asked questions.

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