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Mansfield Lake Ridge High School's Eagle Media Website

Eagle Media

Mansfield Lake Ridge High School's Eagle Media Website

Eagle Media

Mansfield Lake Ridge High School's Eagle Media Website

Eagle Media

Burning Energy

Courtesy of Google Images.
Courtesy of Google Images.

From tests to essays to projects, students tend to be loaded up with work at the end of the year as classes cover their last topics and review for final exams. The heavy workload often results in students and teachers developing burnout and losing motivation.

Teachers are often the first to notice the effects of burnout on students and have to come up with ways to keep them motivated and engaged in class. They understand the stress that comes with testing and the various classes students have to manage. Advanced English II teacher Beth Simmonds tries to integrate more creativity into her teaching to fight burnout.

“It’s right around when testing really kicks into high gear and people are at a breaking point when burnout happens. There’s a lot of stress on the kiddos, and then this idea of afterward we’re not doing anything, it kind of bottoms out everyone’s energy,” Simmonds said. “I try to be more creative. It’s difficult with the curriculum that we have right now because it’s research at the end of the year. I just try to give kids as much work time as possible and be more of a facilitator and not a direct teacher.”

Burnout isn’t just a problem at the end of the year, different people struggle with burnout at different times. Because energy levels and motivation are tied to mental health, the things people deal with personally can also cause burnout. Sophomore Sophia Sutton tends to deal with burnout the most during the winter months.

“If you have burnout it’s like you don’t feel like doing work but also you want to keep your grades up to graduate. I do get burnout, but right now I just have a lot of motivation to get my stuff done. When it’s winter though, it’s dark outside and it’s the middle of the year and everything just sucks,” Sutton said.

As students move through high school, burnout changes as they get older. From freshman to senior year, the difference in workloads and classes, as well as excitement for the future, plays a role in students’ motivation. Senior Autumn Walters has struggled to stay motivated as she deals with busy work and the anticipation of college.

“I want summer to hurry up. I got into college already. I’ve been accepted, and I’ve committed. I’m moving in less than five months, so it’s like ‘Why am I still in high school?’ The work is all busy work too, and I’m not learning anything,” Walters said. “At first the teachers try to teach, then if the students are bad, they kind of just give up on teaching and give us busy work. The teachers have kind of given up on us now, like, in my math class we basically do all our own notes.”

It’s not only students who struggle with feelings of burnout but the teachers too. Coming up with assignments, grading work, and dealing with students’ behavioral issues are all things teachers have to handle during school hours. Social Studies department chair Rena Long understands the importance of taking care of her own mental health.

“Everyone gets burned out. I think the closer we get to the end of the school year and when the weather gets nice, nobody really wants to be inside anymore.” Long said. “I try to take good care of myself, especially this time of year when I’m super tired and super worn out. I just have to remember to go home even though work is piled up in piles. I used to stay here until seven or eight at night, and I don’t do that anymore because of my mental health.”

While burnout is a struggle, it’s important to find ways to cope with it. Whether it’s taking a step back to rest or finding things that motivate you, people find different ways to keep themselves energized. Sophomore Easton Johnson knows how important taking a break is when he starts feeling drained.

“What causes me to get burnout is just busy work. Because at the end of the day, we’re already tired. We just want to go home, lie down, but we can’t because we have work to do or it hurts our grade,” Johnson said. “I think the best thing I do to combat burnout is just probably taking a break and emptying my mind. I think about all the good things that can come from it and just keep pushing forward.”

While the end of the school year provides some people with the excitement necessary for a final boost of energy, it also causes a lot of stress as students and teachers are forced to balance their steadily increasing workload. They have to learn new ways to stay motivated and find time to take a break in order to combat feelings of burnout.

About the Contributor
Rebecca Rios
Rebecca Rios, ENN Staff