As a charter school leader, you probably feel the pressure of getting burnt out yourself. You care about your students, staff, and community so much. We stand with you in combating teacher burnout. So, we want to give you some ideas and tools to prevent teacher burnout and (we hope) yours, too.

Teacher burnout is a serious problem in schools around the world.

A study done in 2019 found that charter schools lose about 20% of their teachers each year. Another recent study by the National Education Association found that 55% of teachers plan to leave the profession earlier than planned, with 90% of those teachers reporting that burnout is a serious problem. What causes teachers to leave in such great numbers? What can you do as a charter school leader to encourage teachers to stay and continue to serve your community?

The biggest cause of burnout for both teachers and school leaders is overwhelming work. Charter school leaders, in general, are overwhelmed with the everyday work of keeping the doors open, financing daily operations, and making sure students are learning in a positive environment. The best part though is that you and your staff love your work as education innovators in your community.

As a charter school leader, you probably feel the pressure of getting burnt out yourself. You care about your students, staff, and community so much. We stand with you in combating teacher burnout. So, we want to give you some ideas and tools to prevent teacher burnout and (we hope) yours, too.

1. Allow Time for Collaboration

Many teachers feel that there are not enough hours at school to accomplish all that they need to do. Building collaboration into your school day shows your staff how much you value their time. Collaboration on planning is proven to reduce burnout and improve student outcomes. Some schools start half an hour late one day a week to give teachers time to share ideas and get their own work done.

By starting 30 minutes later once a week, new teachers have time to ask for help. This is a great opportunity to offer to mentor to new teachers. New teachers are often so overwhelmed with their workload that they don’t get the opportunity to ask for help. By encouraging mentor-mentee relationships, those first few years don’t have to be as difficult. We all shine brighter with someone else in our corner.

Teachers might also use this opportunity to collaborate with other teachers who share the same course or even tackle issues that they are having within their own classrooms. Charter teachers can utilize this time to bounce ideas off one another, get ahead on planning, lead department meetings, and tackle some grading. Setting specific time apart from regular class time shows that you value their time and recognize their workload.

2. Approve Autonomy

Undoubtedly, you’ve spent a lot of hours searching for highly qualified teachers. You know the value of a degree, the time required to obtain a teaching license, and the cost of ongoing professional development. Treating teachers as the professionals they are, by providing them with the autonomy to make informed decisions for their students, builds capacity in your staff and increases perceived value, not to mention staff morale. Teachers aim to do what is best for their students whether that is a lecture, a project, or a test.

Teachers also want to be able to choose materials for their classrooms. While some curriculum may be chosen for them according to state standards, allowing them to choose what books are used within their classrooms gives them a sense of ownership. Recognizing a teacher’s wealth of knowledge and capability to help their students learn makes teachers feel valued. We can assist you with the money you might need to be able to provide curriculum and other educational resources for your teachers. (Perhaps to be able to pay your teachers more!)

3. Advocate for Open Communication
Many decisions are made each day that teachers cannot take part in, but inviting teachers into those conversations gives more ownership of your school to them. Having a safety meeting? Ask a teacher to join. Looking to add new technology to your classrooms? Ask a teacher.

Teachers are in the presence of students and know firsthand how to better their students’ learning environment and their own work environment. Listen to their concerns and facilitate open communication between staff and administration so that everyone contributes to your charter school’s culture.

4. Aim to Stay Positive

Finding ways to stay positive improves staff and school morale. As a charter school leader, you create the atmosphere. Find ways to encourage your staff. Have conversations with them about more than just school. Walk your hallways and say hello to your teachers. Give them a smile or shoot them an encouraging email message. Our clients inspire us every day with how they keep their teams motivated and strong. Sometimes it’s donuts and coffee. Sometimes charter school leaders recognize teachers during their community circle time – in front of the whole school. Other charters have strong PTOs who can bring in lunches, especially for Teacher Appreciation week. Still, other charter leaders drop compliments off – notes with valuable feedback – to help their staff keep their mojo working for the kids.

5. Mental Health Assistance for All

In our post-pandemic world, we all need a break. Did you know that Headspace offers free subscriptions to teachers? This is an excellent resource for your staff. Making sure they have access to mental health resources through Headspace, school counselors, or local counseling services helps prevent burnout.

But what about you? You deserve a mental health break, too. This is where we at Charter School Capital come in. We held a webinar on April 21st with Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Caroline Poland, with you and your needs in mind. This webinar was designed for school leaders like you with curated ideas and information about improving mental health in your community. The recorded webinar is still available on our site; you can watch at any time.

Lastly, we are here to help you by providing a stable, reliable flow of money to schools, filling your school classrooms with students, and finding and securing your school’s forever home. You have so much on your plate each day. Contact us for more information about how we can specifically help your charter school. Take a deep breath, carve out time to relax, and let us partner with you with resources and know-how to get you where you’re going.

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Since the company’s inception in 2006, Charter School Capital has been committed to the success of charter schools. We help schools access, leverage, and sustain the resources charter schools need to thrive, allowing them to focus on what matters most – educating students. Our depth of experience working with charter school leaders and our knowledge of how to address charter school financial and operational needs have allowed us to provide over $1.8 billion in support of 600 charter schools that have educated over 1,027,000 students across the country. For more information on how we can support your charter school, contact us. We’d love to work with you!

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