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Initiative Fatigue + Time Poverty = Staff Burnout

While there are many factors that lead to teacher burnout, and one blog post cannot adequately capture them all, I do believe we can have a blunt conversation about initiative fatigue, its creation of time poverty, and how both of these concepts are dangerous in our educational landscapes.


Neuroscience research is definitively clear that as humans, we can only process so much information at any given time. This is not because we are cognitively weak, and it's not because we don't care about the information--it's brain science. As humans, our brains are wired to protect our bodies from perceived threats. When we feel overwhelmed and unsafe, we will operate from our amygdala, instead of our prefrontal cortex. Our amygdala is what triggers our fight-flight-or freeze instincts, and it is there to send warning signals of protection.


Initiative fatigue occurs when leaders fall trap to the tendency to pile more and more projects onto their peoples' plates. It also occurs when leaders fail to provid