Are you feeling burned out as a special education teacher?

You are not alone.

Working with special education students can be incredibly rewarding, but it can also be very challenging. Special educators often deal with student behaviors that are difficult to manage, and they may feel like they are constantly fighting an uphill battle. As a result, it's not surprising that special educators can sometimes become burned out.

Do you feel like you have been dealing with challenging behavior, lack of resources, and mountains of data collection paperwork? These are just a few common reasons for high levels of stress in the teaching profession and many of us have been there!

If you're a special educator who is starting to feel burned out, there are a few things you can do to help improve the situation. 

  • Take some time for yourself. Find an activity that you enjoy outside of work, and make sure to schedule some regular “me” time into your week. This could be something as simple as reading for pleasure, taking a yoga class, or going for a walk in nature.
  • Make sure you're taking care of yourself both physically and mentally. Self-care is essential for anyone in a high-stress job, and it's especially important for special educators who may be feeling high levels of emotional exhaustion at any time of the school year.
  • Try to focus on the positive aspects of your job. It can be easy to dwell on the negative when we're feeling a lack of appreciation, but remembering why you became a special ed teacher in the first place can help you maintain a passion for the job. What are some of the unique rewards that come with working with this population of students? Keep these things in mind when things get tough.
  • Connect with other teachers. Share your challenges and successes with other special educators (both in person and online). There's strength in numbers, and leaning on your colleagues for support can make a world of difference.
  • Don't be afraid to speak up for yourself and your students. Public school districts are often underfunded and overworked, but that doesn't mean you have to suffer in silence or accept a lack of support. If job satisfaction is low while the levels of stress is high, reach out to your school leaders and advocate for change.

5 Ways to Manage Special Education Teacher Burnout

It can be hard to feel like you're making a significant difference when everything feels like it's stacked against you. But remember, you're not alone in this. There are thousands of general education teachers and special educators out there who are facing the same challenges as you.

Join our Facebook Community and gain access to support systems with people who understand what you're going through. Take heart in knowing that you're part of a larger community and know that together we can make a difference.

Special education teacher burnout is real. Please pass this on to any current teachers who are looking for more relief in the work environment.

Thank you for all your hard work and dedication!

Hi there.

I'm Jennifer!

I’m Jennifer and I was a special educator in the elementary school setting over the past decade. I entered the classroom every day dedicated to making learning inclusive AND engaging.

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