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Quiet rooms created for teachers to balance burnout at schools

zen den room for teachers
Posted at 9:44 PM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-24 13:55:14-05

PHOENIX, Ariz. (KNXV) — An elementary school in Phoenix, Arizona is battling teacher burnout by giving them a place to find some peace throughout the day.

“This is a really nice way to kind of take a break, relax, recenter, focus,” said first-grade teacher Breanne Yamada.

Surrounded in peaceful lighting and ambiance, teachers at Kyrene De La Sierra Elementary School recharge their batteries in a room now known as the "Zen Den."

“As much as you can work, as hard as you can, and you want to do your best, sometimes you feel like you’re doing so much, you can’t do it all,” said Yamada.

It's not too uncommon for educators like Yamada to fall prey to perfectionism.

It comes with the territory when academics are concerned.

“Teaching 26 first graders feels like you’re in the little hamster wheel and you’re going and you’re going and you’re going, and you're thinking about all these different things, you’re thinking about kids' academic needs, their social needs, their emotional needs, their home lives,” said Yamada.

A survey by the National Education Association shows 55% of teachers plan to leave the profession early due to burnout.

“Teachers are needing to do so much more to catch their kids up academically, emotionally, socially, and that is really taking a toll,” said school counselor Jessie Davis.

So, when the school won a $2,500 grant from the American Heart Institute, Davis went to work creating a space for teachers to let their hair down, if only for a moment.

“You’re going to see our diffuser here,” said Davis, pointing out features of the room filled with a feeling of calm — like giant bean bags and massage chairs. “This is probably the most used item; teachers can just stretch out on it."

The "Zen Den" is a one-of-a-kind perk making major differences inside and outside the classroom.

This story was originally reported by Cameron Polom on abc15.com.