by Rachel Kasten
I have yearned to be a Jewish educator since first breathing in the ruach at a URJ summer camp at age 13. And yet, after my first year in the field, I was seriously considering giving up on my dream. The work was truly meaningful, and I was honored and excited to have an impact on so many Jewish children and teens…but I was exhausted. The kind of exhaustion that you feel in your bones; the kind that can’t just be cured by a good night’s sleep. If you are a Jewish educator, you probably know the feeling all too well.
One of the biggest challenges facing Jewish education today is teacher and administrator burnout. Our schools have some of the most innovative educational models, vibrant curricula, and dedicated lay leaders. We have so many resources at our disposal, but they cannot be implemented without enthusiastic and energized administrators and faculty. My perspective comes from working in a large congregational school as a young professional, but the following suggestions for combating educator burnout could apply in many different settings.