Teacher burnout is a persistent challenge for school principals, complicated by the lack of a proven, repeatable strategy to mitigate burnout. If left unresolved, burnout can adversely affect school culture and student learning, leading to turnover that can compound these harmful effects. Since burnout can vary in severity and frequency, principals can work to mitigate burnout in the moment, seizing the opportunity when burnout is first observed. In this narrative sketch, I provide an overview of my experiences in my development as a principal and how this informed my approach to supporting teachers. I also discuss my experiences as principal in working with teachers at different stages of burnout severity, sharing specific stories and reflecting on both the successes and failures of my efforts, including the use of chocolates and tissues to create an individualized safe space to initiate open dialogue. The title, “Chocolates or Tissues,” is a metaphor that represents my momentary burnout mitigation strategy but may also serve as a metaphor for the need for principals to seek individualized opportunities for resolution in a burnout moment when working with teachers.
Benedetti, C. (2023), "Chocolates or Tissues: Mitigating Momentary Burnout", Singer, E.A., Etchells, M.J. and Craig, C.J. (Ed.) Drawn to the Flame (Advances in Research on Teaching, Vol. 45), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 169-180. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-368720230000045011
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Copyright © 2023 Christopher Benedetti. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited