Burnout in Kindergarten: is it inevitable?

The Question:

Miss Bindergarten stays home from Kindergarten

I’m curious to know the “life span” of a kindergarten teacher. As in: how long do kindergarten teachers last in kindergarten? I’m on year 14 and feeling very burnt out.

The Answers:

  • Betsy: I’m on year 18 of inner-city kindergarten. Based on comments, it seems to be an “all-in” or “no thanks” position.
  • Kimberly: I taught Kinder for 18 years and am now in my fifth year of VPK! You either love the littlest ones or not. Most are Kindy teachers at heart. I only moved to pre-k because common core broke my K ❤️
  • Lisa: I was 20+ years as well as preschool and loved it but not sure I could do that now with the expectations being put on young children and their educators.
  • Pam: I retired at 39 years, wish I could have kept going, but too many changes!
  • Kesha: I stayed in Kinder 5 yrs, then moved up a few grade levels. I applaud her!
  • Lori: I had 24 years in and switched to fourth!
  • Robin: 25 years in K and totally burned out!! Not even sure I’ll finish the year. We now have to give 3 CBA’s and a new lesson plan template that’s 25+ pages long. It’s not kinder anymore and these poor babies are struggling.
  • Peggy: K for ten… then changed. Totally burned out. 2 sessions of 25 a day. No specialists. Next 21 years did first, second, or multi-age first and second. Change def. helps mind and body.
  • Lisa Marie: I spent about 5 years in kindergarten; it was half day with a morning and afternoon session. I loved it…but when they went full day and the state started requiring kindergarten teachers to to complete a kindergarten inventory assessment of developing skills for every student in their class. I then knew it was time for me to leave kindergarten. I’m now teaching first grade and enjoy it. Although, I’ve had years where I’ve felt burnt out and considered leaving teaching altogether.
  • Lauren: 14 years! Just made the switch to Special Education-push in resource teacher
  • Laurie: Regardless of the experiences of others, you have to follow your own heart and gut. Your experience in K is unique to you. There are so many variables! Teaching K in one district can be very, very different from another. Class size, having an assistant, curriculum demands– these all make a huge difference. How are you supported? Believe your own feelings and find what is best for YOU. That is what will be best for the kids.
  • Danae: My 18th year….11 years in kindergarten. There are some days I feel like I’m starting to get burnt out, but honestly I don’t know what else I would want to do.
  • Jennifer: I’m on year 20–2 yrs pre-K, 6 yrs 1/2 day K, 6 yrs Grade 1 And now back in K teaching full day K for the last 6 years and still going – I love K! The only reason I went to first back then was because I was a traveling 1/2 day K teacher – I taught my morning session in one school and my afternoon session in another school across town – after 6yrs and 2 babies I didn’t want to travel anymore. But when the chance to go back to K came up, I jumped at it!
  • Terri: I did 8 years in Kindergarten and then moved to our district’s ECEAP Preschool program for our neediest students. Early childhood is difficult and filled with high demands but the rewards are incomparable.
  • Liz:  Year 11 and feeling the burn. The beginning of the year is so hard! It’s just so physically and mentally demanding.
  • Lisa:  On year 17 and it has changed so much that it kills me to come to work each day.
  • Alana: 12 years in kindergarten and loved it. Last year the academic demands on the little 5 year olds burned me out and I moved to an open 3rd grade position.
  • Kathy: Year 33 (30 in kindergarten) for me. I love it!! As long as 1) I’m healthy 2) I’m effective and/or 3) it’s still fun…I’ll keep going!!!
  • Linda: I’m on year 20, a total of 30 teaching. I’ve had those burnt out years. I currently am part of an amazing grade level team, which makes our work so much easier!
  • Cheryl: I love my students, but I’m feeling burnt out. Year 15 for me. I worked 15 as an SLP before moving to K. Thinking a new challenge at a new grade might be nice, but afraid to make a jump…
  • Sandra: Retired after 20 years in Kindergarten and 8 years in PreK. Now I sub in all grades and I am so grateful for my years with the little ones. ❤️
  • Jill: Year 22 in Kindergarten. 28 years total … not enjoying the behavior problems , extra meetings and paperwork but still LOVE the kids. Just wish I could just teach! Continues this way I will be gone as soon as I can!
  • Heather:  I did 8 years then moved to 1st and now 2nd this year. The 1st days of 1st or 2nd are so much easier and less physically exhausting. I am enjoying it.
  • Janet: I taught K for more than 30 years and loved most days. I think it is because of the great grade level and school team mates I had through out the years. It would be very hard to do alone. Sometimes you need a new idea, sometimes you just need to share/vent. * I always loved the kindergartners!*
  • Melissa: I am on year 14 as well and have felt that burn especially when I had an EXTREMELY rough group! The beginning of the year is always the hardest but I usually get my second wind after the holidays 🤞
  • Laura:  I retired after 32 years in kindergarten. I had a few more years in me but I retired while my benefits and pension were still intact. Worked for 3.5 years with HS and college students before becoming a Kindergarten Specialist.
  • Francesca: I taught 7 years in Kindergarten and loved it, but was burnt out. I’m now teaching 3rd!
  • Todd:  I’ve taught kindergarten for 23 yrs and I’m turning 60 next month. I love them and they are a joy to teach. I’ve been teaching a total of 29 years. I think I’m ready to retire from classroom teaching and be a reading tutor for a little while.
  • Victoria: I lasted 12 years and have left teaching in public school. I hope to go back but not public… private and possibly not kg though I loved teaching it.
  • Keri: I spent 23 years in kindergarten. This is year 30 for me.
  • Jamie:  35 years total 25 in K 10 in first subbing primary for 8 years now!
  • Gail: 42 years. I was blessed with great coworkers who helped get me through the rough spots. Now subbing in elementary but still love the littles.
  • Cheryl:  27 years total …21 years in kindergarten and retired last May. I miss it so much!!
  • Sue:  31 years, 1 yr in First Grade, 30yrs in Kindergarten … and started with 5 yrs as a kindergarten aide before I became a teacher!
  • Sharyn: I taught kindergarten children for 37 years – my whole teaching career. I loved it and the curriculum changed greatly in that time!
  • Chris: 37 years total- 33 in Kdg: 4 more until retirement. I love kdg!
  • Tammie:  I’m on year 27, all in kindergarten, and I still love it! However, when year 30 arrives… I’m gone!!! 😀
  • Ellen: I lasted 9 years. The beginning was amazing. Learn, play, excitement… Then rigor set in and joy died.
  • Cathy:  This is my 19 year in kindergarten!! I still love it.
  • Cheri:  I taught one year of fifth grade and 24 years of kindergarten when I retired.
  • Linda:  Taught kindergarten for 29 years, and loved the flexibility and creativity and of course the children!
  • Missi:  I taught Kindergarten for 22 years before moving to 2nd grade- this is year 31 in the classroom 😊
  • Nancy: 32 years in kindergarten in Louisiana. Retired May 2019.
    I did have years here and there that I felt the burn out. Sometimes I needed to faithfully give myself alone time to be me… not teacher, wife, mother, or daughter. Sometimes it was pleasure reading, outside activities, gym or taking dance lessons.
    Other times I needed to focus on giving time to others outside of school.
  • Denise:  44 years in kindergarten, retired in May, and now teaching preK
  • Cathy:  My 24th year in K this year at age 68! 🤪
  • Taylor:  Year 11 and still loving it!
  • Donna:  25 years in kindergarten, several grades during seven years prior. Retired at 62.
  • Tina:  20 years all in kindergarten
  • Maggie: In Kindergarten 32 years before that 3 years in pre-K
  • Christine: 6 years in kindergarten, then moved to third for 8 years.
  • Michelle: I’m on year 29 in k ( 33 total) but I’ve basically had it. If I wasn’t so close to retirement, I’d roll up to grade 2 or 3 😪
  • Amy: I made it 23. 11 in pre k , 12 in k. Now I’m my school’s EC STEM teacher and on year 25. I loved the kids but I needed a break from the curriculum (especially guided reading and morning meeting lol) and wanted the challenge of planning new lessons with a curriculum I could dream up as the year unfolded. It’s what’s sustaining me in early childhood. The fact that there’s no parent conferences or progress reports is an added bonus. The emotional labor of explaining appropriate expectations to families was one of the things that really started to take its toll. In k you’re constantly sandwiched between “they don’t have to be perfect” and “they really should have THIS down by now.” It’s emotionally exhausting. You are not alone.
  • Candy:  I did 35 in kdg and 5 in first for a total of 40! In kdg you have to be up, ready, and constantly on your feet. The lower tables were a back killer and one of the main reasons I changed and went up to first. But, I loved the growth the year of kdg could show and the fun you could have. Sadly, we are trying to make 5 year olds into 10 year olds now.
  • Jennifer:  Year 8, with 7 years in other grades between year 5 and 6.
  • Heather:  Started in k-2 sped for 10 years, went to second for 5, k for 11, back to second for 5 and now back in k again for the past 2. I think change is a great way to re-energize:)
  • Anne:  31 years all together. 2 years in second grade, 29 years in K and TK. I’ve been retired for 3 years now. I really miss the teaching, but not all of the computer/paperwork.
  • Mindi: I’ve taught Kindergarten off and on for 9 years and will not go back!! It’s rewarding, exhausting and fun, but as I get older I prefer 3rd, 4th or 5th Grades!! (Been teaching internationally for 14 years and in the USA for 6)
  • Sue: Well, I believe that all depends on the individual, support from administration, ridiculous demands on the children’s curriculum, testing, and schedules. I have taught from college levels all the way “down” to K5 and stayed there. Unfortunately, my health dictated my early retirement and I had to leave K5, but it was my favorite grade level.
  • Katie: 11 years in K. This is my first year in 2nd and I don’t want to go back!
  • Stefanie: I’m on a burn out year:) 16 years in…it’s been a challenging 49 days so far!
  • Julie:  39 years. 3 years on first grade and the rest in kindergarten. The only saving grace is that I teach only a morning session. Two sessions would have killed me😆😆. Thinking about retirement 😀 maybe in a couple of years or sooner as they are getting harder and harder.
  • Trisha:  I’m on year 17 and am still going strong! My goal this year, though, has been to put everything away at the end of each day (file papers, clean off my desk, etc.). Sometimes I stay longer than I’d like, but I always feel good about my room and ready to go each morning!
  • Julie:  I taught it for 16 years and didn’t want to move, but had no choice! I love K!
  • Mindy: Made it only 6 years & needed a change. 2nd grade is a better fit for me now.
  • Pat:  32 1/2 years. It was wonderful and loved the children. Then it was time to get out. Too many hassles.
  • Kim:  I taught Kinder for 27 years and then retired. I was burned out by then.
  • Patty:  30+ most in kinder. Close to retirement.
  • Amy:  I’m 3 years into EI and can try for a few more…
  • Becky: I’m on year 24–some years are just harder than others.
  • Audrey: Did 46 years of Kdg. 10 in Vestal, New York and 36 in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, Near Vestal is city Binghamton, NY and city near Vestavia. Birmingham, Al. Funny for getting tickets to go to Binghamton NY to Birmingham, Al
  • Tracy:  Years 27, wouldn’t change even if I could.
  • Donna:  15 in 1st 16 in k. Wasn’t ready to retire but was forced out bc I refused to teach kindergartners to correct punctuation before they learned to write!
  • Liz: I did five years in kinder before moving up.
  • Sherri:  I made 26 years in K (and 2 years in 3rd and 1 year in 1st). I retired and now teach part time preK…love it!💕#playallday #learningthroughplay
  • Barbara:  I taught kindergarten for 21 years.
  • Marisa:  Working on year 22 or 23 In kindergarten-I have lost count.😉 
  • Jennifer: 27 years total!! 15 in Pre-K, 12 in Kindergarten, I’m 48 years old and I feel like I deserve to retire!!😂😂😂


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