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Presented by: Jen Johnson, PhD

What My 3 1/2 Year Old (and a Candy Cane) Taught Me

Have you ever heard the phrase “put out into the world what you want to get back”?

Some people call it Karma. Some call it the Law of Attraction. But it really comes back to this idea that if you show up in the world in a certain way, it seems to come back around to you. 

I’ve never really thought about this in terms of a burnout mitigation strategy until recently — and I learned it from my 3 ½ year old. 

While we were putting away our holiday decor this year, my son found a candy cane, and he really wanted to eat it. He asked me to help him open it, and I said what I usually do to positively promote independence and growth: “You try first. You can do hard things.

He sat down and tried and tried. Finally, he lamented, “Mommy, I tried really hard, but I can’t get it open!” 

I told him I would help him and started trying to unwrap it.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve unwrapped a candy cane as of late,...

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How to "Marie Kondo" Your Social Media to Support Emotional Health


Social media takes a lot of heat when it comes to impacts on mental health. For years we’ve been hearing that social media can be detrimental to emotional health and even exacerbate symptoms of depression and anxiety, not to mention lower self-esteem (Frost & Rickwood, 2017).

Because of this, for the longest time I resisted hosting support communities on platforms like Facebook. I didn’t want teachers going to FB to get support if it actually harmed their mental health; that’s the opposite of my mission and values at the Teacher Care Network.

How I Discovered the Benefits of Social Media

One of the values of the Teacher Care Network is that we offer evidence-based resources and strategies, so I’m always knee deep in the scientific literature reading and discovering new ways to help educators. During one of my deep dives last summer, I came across an article about the benefits of online support communities for teachers (Chung & Chen, 2018), and that...

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Four Groups of People You Need to Prevent Burnout

The second pillar in the THRIV burnout prevention and recovery model is Harness Social Support. Social support can come from a lot of different people and places, but there are four that are particularly important for educators.

Each of these different groups of folks help us to process our experiences in different ways and they provide different kinds of support. 

If you want to make this blog experience interactive, grab a piece of paper and make a grid with four quadrants. In each space, brainstorm the people who fit the bill for that quadrant.

Quadrant 1: Teacher friends. 

Nobody understands what you're experiencing as much as a fellow educator. Who are the educator friends who you can call on when you need help? Who is happy to assist when you have to take a sick day? Who do you go to for instructional ideas when you're drawing a blank?

Quadrant 2: Non-Teacher Friends

I know it sounds strange, but you need some friends that don't know anything about education....

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How Little Issues Become Catastrophic When We're Burned Out

I got married to my husband in 2015. I was still working full-time in the classroom at that time, and was also working on my PhD. I honestly don't even know how I had time to date anyone, much less decide to get married!! I swear half our dates were like "hey come over and help me cut out all this stuff I laminated" or "wanna go to the PTA carnival with me (and get put to work haha). He was definitely my teacher side-kick.


Everything went awesome until our honeymoon. By the fifth day, I was in tears, had gone out for solo coffee, and was on the phone with my best friend Carri, who also happens to be an expert in counseling.  


After the conversation, I took a picture because I wanted to remember the moment. Noteworthy as I look back is the wait staff at the hotel assuming my husband was coming with me and setting two places.


 The conversation went something like this:

Me: Carri, I can't do this! Like...I think I've made a mistake. I had no idea...

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