Chronic Teacher Fatigue

“If you aren’t exhausted as a teacher at the end of the day , you haven’t done your job.”

Someone I know

It is very true that being a tocker can be very mentally, emotionally, and physically taxing. I would be surprised if I met a teacher who said that they never feel tired at all. I would call B/S, without judgement but with a lot of jealousy if they could tell me their secrets.

I don’t want to say you have to exhaust yourself in order to be a good teacher. I am saying that the job within itself makes you exhausted without you needing to make it so. At some point, it should be added as a job description more explicitly, instead of “can work in high pressure environment.”

Over the last few months, I have experienced what sometimes feels like a chronic level of fatigue, which apparently occurs mostly in females. Without surprise, the female population of teachers is through the roof compared to males. What this feels like is a high level of brain function, to the point of dreaming about the situation at school – the worst class to manage, the test week cycle, the email that I still have not sent. It feels like a lot of burning pressure that manifests as physical pain that you experience. It feels like I need to hibernate through the winter because the sleep never feels enough even when it is clearly too much. It feels like I cannot people anymore; especially people who I’d have to explain to. To be honest it is usually only teacher friends that get it.

People think one of two versions of what it is like being a teacher. It is either, teaching is so great because we have these quarterly breaks from time to time. Or they believe teachers are somewhat lazy for believing we need a break. Let me tell you this, at the end of each term, most administrators say, (paraphrased) “Hope you have a well-deserved break, but don’t forget to plan ahead to be ready for the following term and hit the ground running.” Every teacher is probably working within their school breaks.  There is close to no time to do anything the way you’d like to do it during school days, because of all the background noise from management, curriculum advisors, parents and learners. Most work gets done in “off-periods” – weekends, long weekends, public holidays and school holidays. So, it is not so great being a teacher because of the “extra holidays” and teachers are not lazy for knowing they deserve time-off.

I want to go into the new term believing that I will be better. I saw an IG post on one of the teacher accounts that I follow saying, “I can do anything, but I can’t do everything.” That will be the mantra that I need to remember. I want to be on the road to recovery from this fatigue.

Let’s see what’s in store for Term 2. Thank you for your time! Hope you and yours have had a Happy Easter Holiday.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: