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  • Writer's pictureCait Donovan

Nikki Hume: Teacher Burnout and the International Teaching Experience

Nikki Hume is an art teacher at an international school in Manila. She taught for 9 years in the states before teaching abroad and attributes her two burnout experiences with helping her to learn very valuable life lessons. Today, Nikki discusses teacher burnout and how it relates to her own experiences teaching internationally.

Educator burnout has a variety of root causes, but one of the largest is a lack of proper work life balance and well-established boundaries. Nikki explains that in international schools there is actually even less of a clear divide between school and personal life, because there is more of an expectation for teachers to be socially involved with their colleagues. Unless you put in significant effort to make outside friends, the majority of your friendships will likely be with other teachers. Another issue causing burnt out teachers is that there is often a lack of clarity on job responsibilities from day to day. Teachers may burn out simply because they are overwhelmed by the amount of demands being put on them that are technically outside of their job description.

As the world changes, so too do the expectations and requirements for teachers. Kids have different needs than they did in the past and there is a lot of pressure on educators to take on an emotional caregiver type role in addition to their educational role. By establishing strong boundaries and being very intentional about upholding them, teachers can prevent burnout and keep doing what they love.


If you love teaching and you don't want to burn out from it, you don't want to make a full career change, then you have to protect yourself.” (18:42-18:52 | Nikki)

Colleagues aren't just your colleagues in the international world.” (21:15-21:18 | Nikki)

It's a lack of an understanding of collaboration and what that means for teachers working within teams, and teachers connecting also to administrative support.” (26:36-26:49 | Nikki)

There's times where the expectations for what your role is on that day is not clear.” (28:15-28:20 | Nikki)

“The one thing teachers say is there's never enough time. There's never enough time in the school day, in their own day sometimes to get all the things done. And so I wonder if we just let teachers do their job, what is in their job description, and not keep adding to the plate without taking something else off, would that idea of expectations shift?” (28:38-29:08 | Nikki)

Everyone's definition of collaboration is different.” (33:46-33:48 | Nikki)

The world has also shifted and the things that kids need is very different. Sometimes I can’t relate to it, so I just have to be empathetic to it.” (44:15-44:24 | Nikki)


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If you know that it’s time to actually DO something about the burnout cycle you’ve been in for too long - book your free consult today:


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