PUBLISHED: Thursday, April 16, 2020 by JO

Ellen Drolette


Ellen took the time to talk with us about foundations to avoid burnout, misconceptions, and the inspiration behind Overcoming Teacher Burnout in Early Childhood.

Ellen Drolette has been working in the field of early care and education for 25 years. She has served on the board of the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC), is a Global Leader with the World Forum Foundation, and was named a Master Leader in 2016 by Exchange magazine.

In addition to running her family child care program, Ellen has worked extensively with the new American and refugee community around early childhood education. Ellen and her business partner run Positive Spin, LLC, specializing in early childhood workforce development and capacity.

Caregiver fatigue and low morale is a problem in many early care settings. Overcoming Teacher Burnout in Early Childhood focuses on the many reasons why early childhood professionals can suffer from low staff morale that causes such a high industry turnover rate. Included are ways to motivate and inspire yourself and others to view their work in a way that is healthy, intentional, and creates a high-quality early childhood environment.

Can you share a brief timeline of your educational and professional life?

I have owned and operated a family child care program for 25 years. I started out in the early education field because I needed quality child care for my two children who were both under two. I was a dental assistant and had developed severe latex allergies. It seemed that the time was right. I knew nothing about early education other than being a mom. However, I started educating myself right away by getting my Child Development Associates and getting my child care program accredited so that families would believe in my abilities. I then went on to get my undergraduate degree as well. Throughout the past 25 years, I have been a leader of network groups, served on boards and committees and taught numerous workshops and classes.

What made you write a book about burnout in the field of early childhood?

Writing a book was a dream I have always had and burnout is something that is prevalent and many people can relate to in this field. I felt that people needed to hear stories and start developing coping strategies.

What do you consider to be the three most important foundations to avoid burnout?

Attitude, Mental Wellness, Optimism.

How can educators deal with burnout if it happens?

Creating strategies is one thing but practicing them is the number one way to overcome burnout. Practice like you would yoga, football, or meditation.

Is there a stigma attached to teacher burnout in early childhood? How can that be addressed and mitigated?

The stigma is not necessarily around burnout but around turnover, low pay, depression, compassion fatigue, disrespect and these factors lead to burnout.

What is the greatest misconception about teacher burnout in early childhood?

The biggest misconception is that if everyone gets paid more that will solve all of the problems. It does not.

What’s on your professional or personal bucket list?

I want to write more professionally — definitely another book. I’d like to do some keynotes, travel both professionally and personally while growing my business, Positive Spin, LLC, along with my business partner, Lisa. Positive Spin, LLC, focuses on Early Childhood Education Workforce Capacity and Appreciative Inquiry in Early Education Programs along with burnout.

What was the most meaningful part about writing a book that will help educators in their field?

The most meaningful part of writing the book was meeting with the educators that had the stories to tell. Most everyone sheds tears in the process because they recalled extremely emotional times when they had to dig deep to pull themselves out of some dark places. It was cathartic for many of them. For me, the best part was the relationships and stories, where people were able to draw strength in the hardest times.

To learn more about Ellen Drolette and her business, Positive Spin, LLC, click here to visit her website.

This Author Spotlight was published on April 16, 2020