Grab your FREE Ticket to the EmpowerEd 2 Teach with AI Virtual Conference ⚡️

77. Teacher People Pleaser? How to Spot it and Prevent Burnout

Oct 24, 2023


 Listen on your favorite pod player: 

Apple Podcasts | Spotify |  Amazon Podcast  | Google Podcasts

Did you know that 49% of adults self-identify as people-pleasers? If you're anything like most teachers, you may not even realize you are a people pleaser. I know I sure wouldn't have categorized myself as such. People-pleasing tendencies can often go unnoticed, especially when we're passionate about our work, like teaching. We might think that our dedication and willingness to go the extra mile for our students and colleagues are just part of being a dedicated educator.

However, it's essential to recognize that being a people-pleaser isn't inherently negative. It often stems from a genuine desire to help and support others. But when it leads to overcommitting, burnout, and neglecting our own needs, it's crucial to address these tendencies. As educators, we need to strike a balance between serving others and taking care of ourselves.

In this episode, Amy Schamberg dives deeper into her own burnout experience and shares valuable insights on how to identify if you are a people-pleaser and the importance of setting boundaries. She also discusses the power of self-awareness and self-compassion in overcoming burnout and finding fulfillment in your teaching journey.

Amy Schamberg is a mental health and holistic wellness expert with over 13 years of dedicated experience. She is the driving force behind Amy Schamberg Wellness and holds various prominent roles including Licensed School Psychologist at the Ricks Center for Gifted Children at the University of Denver, Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach, National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach, trainer, speaker, and creator of "The ME TIME Method." Additionally, she has contributed her expertise to the international mindfulness and mental health care company, Headspace.

In 2021, Amy embarked on her coaching venture, guided by a steadfast commitment to holistic well-being. She is passionate about helping high-achieving professional women recover from burnout, redefine their approach to self-care, and regain valuable personal time—without the burden of guilt. Amy knows first hand what it's like to succumb to hustle culture, drown in chronic busyness, and feel like there's no way out. She's here to affirm that there is indeed a way to cultivate resilience and find harmony, enabling you to have the energy and capacity to maintain the healthy routines that allow you to feel great in your body, mind, relationships, and career.


  • The correlation between teacher burnout & people pleasing
  • Surprising Statistics on Teacher People Pleasing
  • Amy's journey from school psychologist to functional medicine health coach
  • Exploration of the root causes of teacher burnout and self-discovery
  • The sneaky nature of burnout and the tendency to overwork
  • Pursuit of functional medicine training to identify root causes of illnesses
  • Realization of personal habits and beliefs contributing to burnout
  • Taking responsibility and finding empowerment in addressing burnout
  • Amy's transition to health coaching and common themes among clients
  • The importance of setting boundaries and becoming resilient
  • Recognizing signs of being a teacher people pleaser
  • The Importance of Setting Boundaries and Saying No.
  • Overcoming discomfort in setting boundaries and addressing conflicts
  • The ability to change and shift habits and beliefs for increased resilience
  • Navigating burnout and building a buffer against external stressors
  • Teachers as potential people pleasers and high-achievers
  • Encouragement for self-reflection and awareness of people-pleasing tendencies
  • The personal journey of recognizing burnout and finding a new path
  • The universal nature of burnout among high-achievers







The Resilient Teacher Podcast is the show that will give overwhelmed educators the support, tools, and mindset to reduce teacher burnout and keep teaching sustainable. Each week, Brittany Blackwell, M.Ed. & her guests will share inspiration and actionable steps to avoid or recover from the dreaded teacher burnout. You'll be inspired to individualize self-care and learn to prioritize your well-being and mental health, all while making a bigger impact on your classrooms and community.



Are you subscribed to the podcast?  If not, I encourage you to do that NOW so you never miss another episode!  New episodes are added every Tuesday, and if you're not subscribed there's a good chance you might miss out on notifications that a new episode has gone live.  Click here to subscribe on iTunes!

And if you are feeling extra amazing, I would be super grateful if you would leave a review on iTunes, too!  Those reviews help other educators who are burned out and needing support find the podcast, and I love shouting you out on the Community Reviewer of the Week Segment!  Just click here to review, select "Ratings & Reviews" and "Write a Review" and share what you are loving about the podcast!   

Some links on this page are affiliate links. This helps to support this podcast at no additional cost to you.




Introduction and Background Story of Burnout Journey

[0:00] Hey, Amy, welcome to the show. Hi, Brittany, thanks so much for having me.
I was really excited to connect with you and I gave a really great introduction to you, but I always think it's so important to hear your story straight from the source.
So it's just way more impactful that way. And so can you share a little bit about you, your burnout, your journey of becoming a school psychologist to working in functional medicine as a health coach?
Yeah, how much time do we have? We've got all the time in the world. Okay.
Yeah. You know, so I entered, you know, public education, school psychology around 2010.
And from the beginning, I was always so passionate about my work.
[0:46] And, you know, it's interesting when we talk about burnout because I think it's really sneaky and it can sneak up on you.
And for me, in the beginning, being double booked, triple booked, you know, bringing work home on the weekend, staying late, like that felt like a choice. And I was very passionate about what I was doing. And it was no big deal. This is just what everybody did. And.
[1:08] So that's just the kind of set the stage as to like the beginning of my career. And there was a period of time when I worked part time as a school psychologist, and I still was bringing all my work home on the days that I wasn't there. And that was just kind of a joke, like, yeah, this is how it goes. You never really work part time, right? And, you.
[1:26] Know, then we entered COVID. And that's when things changed for all of us, myself included. And during that time where everybody was working at home, I decided to pursue another passion of mine, which is functional medicine health coaching. And so if you're not familiar with functional medicine, it's really an approach that looks at the root cause of illness, rather than saying, you know, oh, you have a headache, take an Advil, we say, why do you have a headache? And let's treat that. And that was really interesting to me. And it had been for a long time. So I, you know, saw the COVID situation as an opportunity to do something new. So I pursued that training. And then I went back to work at the school that I had been employed at, which was the second largest high school in the state of Colorado with 3,000 200 students. It was, yeah, it was busy, to say the least. And then, you know, we returned after COVID, and all of the mental health concerns that we had previously seen were just exacerbated across the board. And with myself.

Mental Health Concerns Exacerbated After COVID

[2:39] I was kind of burning the candle at both ends for a long time without really realizing it.
So I had those habits that I mentioned from before, always just kind of working really hard, putting more on my plate, thinking that it was a choice.
Then I pursued this other certification and coaching. And then things started to kind of get really hard and unravel a bit. And it just started to feel like it wasn't a choice anymore.
And it started to feel really, really hard. And I was just exhausted all the time.
And I didn't feel passionate about my work anymore. And that was a big sign to me when the compassion fatigue set in.
And I just was feeling really detached from my students. That was a sign that something was not right.
And long story short, I ended up needing to take a 10 week leave of absence.
[3:31] Because I was so unable to function.
My burnout got to the point where I would be having a conversation with a colleague or in a meeting with a parent, and it was like the words were coming, but I couldn't even hear them. I wasn't able to show up for my family at all.

Self-Reflection and Empowerment in Overcoming Burnout

[3:49] So I had to take a leave of absence. And that was the period of time that I really had to look deep inside myself and figure out what's going on here, because it's very easy to blame external circumstances, like, you know, the pandemic, that's what caused my burnout.
Oh, this, you know, school district that I'm in, or it's the demands of my building.
And sure, that certainly contributed, but with my functional medicine training and understanding about looking for a root cause, I knew I knew how to go deeper.
And that was really hard to see that there are certain things that I was doing, know, certain beliefs that I held, certain habits that I was continuing that were contributing to my burnout. And so that was a huge epiphany for me. And once I was able to.
[4:39] Have that self-awareness, and have some self-compassion, because it was kind of a, you know, a tough pill to swallow, like, oh, gosh, I some, this kind of falls on my shoulders. It became really empowering. And so, long story short, I decided to leave public education at the end of the 2021-2022 school year. And I worked for an amazing international wellness company that provided health coaching to people all over the world. And so I worked as a health coach for about 15 months. And what was really interesting to me during that period of time, is I kept saying, seeing the same themes on repeat with my clients there. I often would work with high-achieving professional women in some sort of caregiving role, not always educators, but maybe it was health care, or maybe they were a mom. But you know, most, most women that I know are a our caregiver in some form. And it was just the same themes on repeat. These people-pleasing qualities, these perfectionistic tendencies, putting themselves last, you know, making their self a priority at the very bottom of the list, all the things that I had done for a very, very long time. And it was leading to burnout. And I was just.
[5:52] Like, Wow, OK, this is, this is not just me. This is across the board. I'm working with these amazing women all over the world who have these exact same issues. And so all that to say, you know, there are things that we can do, there are things within our control that we can shift, that we can change to become more resilient, to have a buffer against those external things that we don't have control over. And that's what I've become really, really passionate about in the last year or so.

Passion, Burnout, and People-Pleasing Tendencies Identified

[6:27] I just love listening to your story, because I was listening and I heard you say you are passionate. And I've done some research about passion and burnout. And typically, when you are passionate about something, you give your all to it because you're so excited, you have all of these things that you want to complete. And then you end up burning out because you are burning the candle at both ends. You have those perfectionistic, those people-pleasing tendencies, high-achieving. We just talked about this in Episode 70, how there are 4 particular, I mean, there's more personality types out there, but we talked about how there's 4 particular personality types that really need to set boundaries this school year as teachers. And those were, some of those 4 characteristics. I know you talked about being a people-pleaser. I looked into you a little bit. I know that there are so many teachers out there, there, that fit that criteria, too, and maybe don't even realize it. So if there's someone listening right now, how could somebody tell, maybe, if they are a people-pleaser, too?

Signs of Being a People-Pleaser and its Impact on Burnout

[7:32] I love that you asked that question because a few years ago I would have said I am not a people pleaser. Absolutely not. My inner rebel cringes at the thought of being a people pleaser. I've always thought of myself as this very independent, strong-willed, I'll do what I want when I want type person. However, the definition of a people pleaser is it's like the act of accommodating the needs of others to avoid conflict or negative feelings, even if you don't enjoy what you're doing. So what that looks like, if you're constantly feeling overwhelmed by all of your commitments, that's the number one, I don't know, red flag that maybe you can get curious and see, like, what else is going on here? Are you agreeing to take on more responsibilities, even when you want to say no, consistently? Are you avoiding conflict at all costs, right? Do you Do you feel really uncomfortable setting a boundary?
Do you feel really uncomfortable just bringing something up?
You know, sometimes we have those situations where we notice, we just get the sense that something's a little off with like a relationship even, but we don't wanna bring it up because it's gonna be an icky conversation.
It's gonna be uncomfortable.
Do we avoid that, right? Are we constantly apologizing even when it's not necessary?
[8:50] Do we feel the need to provide like this elaborate explanation for why we can't do something if we do in fact set a boundary or say no, like do we have to go on and on?
I think about my husband, like if he can't do something, he'll just be like, no, I can't do that, end of story.
Like, I can't do something. I'm like, well, here's the thing, my kid has this appointment and then we have to go here and I already said I would do this and I feel like this need to give all this information.
[9:16] And some other signs of being a people pleaser is just, if you feel guilty putting yourself first, if you feel guilty caring for yourself, because there's always going to be more that you could be doing, always.
And so, if you're constantly like, oh, I can't take this time for myself because I need to grade those papers, or I need to write that report, or I need to, yeah, those things are always gonna be there.
But if that guilt is constantly there, that's another sign that you might be a people pleaser.
And I think that leads to really feeling resentful, leads to feeling really stressed, and ultimately leads to burnout.

Recognizing People-Pleasing Tendencies

[9:54] Yeah, I mean, you said that about being independent. I talked with my friend Spencer last year about some of the things that she went through in burnout. She was talking about people-pleasing. And at the time, I think I even said, like, I'm far from a people-pleaser. But when I really dove into it, because like I'm an Enneagram 8, like I, I'm one of those people who's got like a real strong personality, and I like to stick up for people, that sort of thing. I would never have said, Brittany is a people pleaser. But even just kind of looking into it, realizing when I'm giving, I tell people when they say, well, can you do such and such? And I'm like, well, I got this one thing and I got this other thing. And so I'm really juggling a lot right now.
And even though I'm setting a boundary, I still give a whole lot with it. You know what I mean?
And I think, I bet there's some teachers out there right now who are listening in that are like, oh, crap. Maybe, maybe I am a people-pleaser, you know? What are the, like, the 6 steps to really avoid people-pleasing?
[10:56] Yeah, that's a great question. Honestly, I think we need to come up with a new name for people-pleasing, because I think that it's just, like, offensive to all of us who are like, Absolutely, I don't try to please people all the time. I just, you know. But I think, you know, there are, there are steps that you can take. And, you know, Number one is awareness, really. You know, it took me, like I said, a very long time to understand that people-pleasing could also coincide with being a free-spirit, ambitious, high-achiever. And, you know, and so just having that awareness is really important. And along with that is identifying the thoughts or the feelings that come before the action. So, you.
[11:38] Know, just being mindful of thoughts or situations where you might think, Well, I have to do that, or I have no choice, or, you know, they're counting on me, or whatever those stories are that we tell ourselves, we have to become aware of those stories. We have to know what we're saying. And then with that, we need to challenge those thoughts, right? So when someone asks us to, you know, cover a class, when we were planning on spending that free period preparing for our own, you know, next class or something like that.
And we say, well, you know, they don't have anyone else to ask, or I owe them because they helped me out. Well, well, really, what what's underneath of that?
You know, if you share that you couldn't or would you could you offer to help them find somebody else?
You know, what else is there?
And another strategy, along with challenging those thoughts that I often use with clients is called fact versus opinion.
[12:32] And so basically, it's like asking yourself, is this thought I have a fact.
[12:36] Or is it an opinion? And of course, the first answer is, of course, it's a fact. However, then the next question I have for clients is, would that hold up in a court of law? Right? That you have, that I don't have a choice, I have to do this, they're, counting on me. Is that a fact that, you know, will hold up in a court of law? And 99% of the time, the answer is no. So that's just a kind of a way to help reframe.
And then another way to overcome people-pleasing is to practice being assertive in a really low-stakes, respectful way.

Strategies to Overcome People-Pleasing

[13:09] So for a lot of us who are conflict avoiders, you know, it can be really scary and uncomfortable to speak up right away in a high-stakes situation.
So, you know, just, just practicing using I-statements, practicing, you know, when it's, we're going out for lunch and everyone says, Well, where do you want to go? If you're the type of person who normally says, Oh, I don't care, I'll go wherever you want to go. Speak your opinion. Where do you want to go? You know, what is an idea that you have? And practice these little, these little things that kind of help you feel more confident in asserting yourself. And you mentioned boundaries, of course, that's super important. And on, along the lines of low-stakes practicing, what's been helpful for a lot of my clients recently that I've been working with, rather than saying, you know, No, I can't do that right away, it's a little softer to practice saying, Let me think about that and get back to you tomorrow. And.
[14:06] Then give yourself 24 hours to truly think about it. Because what I'm noticing, right, is many of the things that we overcommit to, we impulsively say, Yes, because it's a habit, because we're used to it, right? Yeah, sure, of course, I'll do that. And then we tell ourselves, Well, now I have to because I've already committed.
Yeah, so giving ourselves that space to really think about it. And think, you know, if I say yes to this, what does that mean I'm saying no to? Because every yes equals a no, right? And then really, I think the next one is just.
[14:38] Self-acceptance. A lot of times, people-pleasing comes from this need to receive validation from others, external validation. And I mean, that can go way back to childhood. I think about when I was younger, and I would bring home the A's on my report card, and that's when I would get the attention and the love and, Good job, right? And so, you know, we have this need for external validation, but if we can learn to give ourself that own, that, that internal validation on our own, that kind of helps eliminate that as well.
[15:10] It's interesting that you brought that up, because I literally wrote it down because I was thinking about what actually made me realize that I might be a people-pleaser. And it was getting that validation from other people. I.
[15:23] Would often say, Yes, that was where the root was. The root was that I wanted to be accepted by other people, by my peers in the classroom, by my principal, by my husband, by my parents, all, all these different people in my life I wanted to feel validation from. I wanted to hear that external validation, that good job, you're doing a great job, that sort of thing. And so I would often say, Yes, when I really wanted to say No, and then I'd get ticked off, you know, like, when it came around, I'd be like, Oh, I've got to do this thing that I said I was going to do, and I really didn't want to do it, you know. And I think so many teachers often experience that too, because somebody asks them, Hey, can you cover this class? And you're like, Yeah, I can do that. But then the whole time, you're in a crappy mood. The kids can tell. They're like, This lady doesn't want to be here, you know what I mean? And, and I think that was the, that, that was the thing that made me recognize, Hey, even though I'm an independent person, and I've got great, I'm typically very assertive, I was still people-pleasing, because I was wanting that external validation. And when I could actually become self-aware enough to realize that about myself, it was like, Oh, OK.
So that yucky feeling that I'm getting that really icky feeling like I really don't want to do this, but I'm still saying yes.
[16:50] That's my people-pleasing tendency trying to creep out. You know what I mean?
[16:54] Right. And at what detriment, right? Like, I love what you said about how it just affects everyone around us. Sure, we say yes in the moment to please this one person, but then we feel bad about it. The students that we're with pick up on that energy. How does that impact them? We bring that home with us to our families. And it's just this cycle that perpetuates.
[17:16] Yeah. You know, one of the things that I think we don't talk about enough is that people-pleasing can lead to some of that overwork that sends us down that slippery slope of burnout. And I think, when we think about it that way, when we think, This is causing me to overwork, I'm overextending myself, I'm overcommitting myself, because I'm not setting those boundaries, because I'm looking for that validation, that really changes the perspective and the priority to really put yourself first. So what do you recommend for those teachers that are overworking, overextending, overcommitting? What are some of the specific strategies that you can recommend?

Setting Boundaries with Ourselves

[17:56] Yeah, that's a great question. And like we talked about just a while ago, oftentimes, we are passionate about what we're doing. You know, we love our work a lot of the time. And so it's important, we talked about setting boundaries with others, but it's also important to set boundaries with ourselves. And, you know, just being an educated human who knows the importance of downtime, we need to put, you know, an end to the workday. We need to say, OK, I'm not going to check emails after 5 p.m., or I'm not going to do any work past, you know, whatever, 7 p.m., 6 p.m., whatever that is, and then stick to it. And, you know, I think that's, that's No. 1, is setting those boundaries with ourselves, because we're never going to be able to maintain a boundary with others if we can't even maintain them with ourselves.
Right And then I think another piece is really being mindful and capitalizing on what I call the power of pause. So like we're so busy, like from the moment we wake up and you know, all day long.
[19:00] And it can be really easy to just get swept up in that busyness and like never come up for air, right? And it's like suddenly it's three o'clock and you're like, I haven't even eaten lunch today.
So just, like for myself, I often will set an alarm on my watch to go off every two hours, and it just like reminds me, like pulls me out of whatever I'm doing.
And you know, I might look out the window and take a couple breaths or, you know, just take a break. All the things that we tell our students to do, you know, do for ourselves and model that as well. You know, and then practicing real self-care.

Redefining Self-Care and Prioritizing Sleep

[19:37] I think that self-care can be a very triggering word to some people because, you know, in pandemic, it was like, self-care, self-care. And it's like, who has time for bubble baths when I'm, you know, all these other things going on. But something I've been talking a lot about lately, is self-care as being something that you can subtract, something that you can take off your plate. Oh, I love that. Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, for myself, I was getting really triggered by.
[20:01] Self-care. I was getting really annoyed and I was thinking, you know, of course, I'd love to to read a non-work-related book, but I don't have time for that.
Of course, I'd like to go get my nails done, but I don't have time for that.
So then I thought about, well, what does self-care even mean?
And for me, self-care means reducing stress and increasing joy.
And what would allow that to occur? Well, if I didn't have these constant thoughts about I need to, I should, I have to.
So how can I get rid of those thoughts? Or, you know, if there's a certain task that you can't stand, can you train someone else to do it and delegate it? Right? Like, what can you remove from your plate? And I think that's really been helpful for not just myself, but the clients that I've been working with as well. And honestly, I think that the No. 1 way to kind of mitigate the effects of overworking or just being super busy and stressed all the time is sleep. And, you know, we hear that all the time, but honestly, when we are overworking and busy, sleep is the first thing to go. I read something the other day that said, humans are the only mammals that purposely delay sleep. Like no other mammal does this. Like if, you know, the cat lays down, takes a nap. Like we're the only ones that just put it off.

The Struggle of Digital Detox at Night

[21:23] And the thing that really keeps us up late at night too, is the thing that we tell our students and our kids not to do, which is getting on our devices and scrolling. And for a lot of the moms that I work with, I hear this all the time, and I was guilty of this myself. It's like the end of the night is the only time you have for yourself. The rest of the night, you're sleeping. You're not looking at work stuff anymore. It's quiet. Of course, you're exhausted, and you know you should go to bed. But you're like, let me just pull up social media. And before you know it, it, it's two hours later, and you're down at TikTok rabbit hole. And yeah, Zofia's this morning, and it's like, we repeat it the next day. So there are some specific steps that we can take to kind of put ourselves in a digital detox at night and set ourselves up for a better night of sleep. Because as, as we all know, when we are sleep deprived, everything is so much harder. Every problem is so much bigger. And all of the strategies that we've talked about today are nearly impossible to implement if we're just like surviving on coffee and making it through the day.
[22:27] Yeah, I love what you said about self-care being something that you're removing. Because I thought, when I was listening to people talk about, you know, you need to add self-care, you need to add self-care, I'm like, like, roll your eyes, right? Yeah, because, you know, during that time, during the pandemic, they were like, Oh, well, you know, just go take some time for yourself. But they would never say exactly what would work for individual teachers, and, or they give some like blanket list of things that you should add to your plate. And I love the way that you framed that to like remove things. Because I think about it like, things need to be individualized, specifically for you, because what works for me is not going to work for you. What, what works for Cindy down the hall, that's not going to be the same as what's for you. And giving you a self-care menu and expecting you to choose that, that's, it doesn't work.

Self-Care by Subtraction: Individualized Approach to Well-being

[23:22] That doesn't work. I don't believe in cookie cutter solutions. And just kind of adding in that layer of removing something that is just, I love that. I love that. I'm going to forever have to quote you on that forevermore.
[23:36] Self-care by subtraction, I think it's the new way to be because, as you said, ask 100 people what self-care means, you'll get 100 different answers, and all of them are right. However, if self-care to you is going to the spa, What, what do you need to take off your plate in order to, like, make space for that, right? So we still need to subtract something.
Yeah. And you, you talked about the people-pleasing. I know that there are so many teachers out there who don't even realize that they're a people-pleaser. And just listening to our conversation today, it's going to have them thinking and reflecting and being like, Huh, you know, if, if Brittany might be a people-pleaser, or if Amy might be a people, pleaser. Maybe I am, too, and really looking into that, reflecting and start to look at self-care as ...
You know, by subtraction. So I just, I love that. It was such a good conversation. Is there anything else that you want to add or that you would want to tell the audience who's listening today?

Overcoming Burnout: There is Another Way

[24:34] Yeah, I mean, I just want everyone to know that if you are feeling burnt out and you're feeling stuck, it doesn't have to be this way. And, you know, oftentimes in education, we kind of get in that commiserating cycle where we vent a lot with our colleagues. And that can be helpful, for a bit until it's not. And I just really would encourage everyone to take some steps.
[25:04] To feel a little bit better. I would love for people to take a look at my website and my blog.
I have some other articles on there. I have a free guide to bedtime bliss that goes through some of those helpful hacks for better sleep that I was alluding to.
And you know, I just, I just want everyone to know that it doesn't have to be this way.
If you're feeling stuck and overwhelmed and stuck in burnout, there is another way.
And I'd be happy to, you know, share some more resources with anybody who's interested.
Absolutely. So we're going to put all of the links down for your freebie for your social media anywhere that people can connect with you.
Way they can head over to that and click and follow you. It was just a real pleasure to have this conversation with you today with another teacher friend who just gets it, who understands, and I love connecting with other people like, that. So thank you again for coming on to the show.
Yes, same. Thank you so much for having me. It's been amazing.

Get Your Personalized Roadmap to Burnout Recovery

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.

Stay Connected with me on Instagram: