Educators are struggling. Nearly two years after the pandemic first forced schools to shut down their doors, teaching and learning is still anything but business as usual. With the continuing uncertainties brought about by the pandemic, teachers are burnt out, stress is at an all-time high, and many are looking to leave the profession.
After two rocky school years, the 2021–22 academic year seemed promising, with readily available vaccines, mask mandates, and most schools returning to in-person learning. However, it’s proving to be an uphill battle. Staffing shortages, discipline issues, the omicron variant, and a variety of other hurdles are bringing many educators to their breaking point. “I will tell you that the teachers I’ve spoken to in my district and throughout the state have just shared that this has been the worst teaching year of their life,” pre-K educator Suzen Polk-Hoffses told NPR. “Really, we just want to teach. We thought this was going to be over with. We thought that once everybody got vaccinated and we started wearing masks, that this would end, and this has become a nightmare.”
A recent National Education Association (NEA) survey highlighted many of the struggles faced by today’s educators. The feedback from their nationwide poll of 3,621 educators who are members of the NEA showed the following:
- 90% said feeling burned out is a serious problem
- 74% have had to fill in for colleagues or take on additional duties due to staff shortages
- 91% said pandemic-related stress is a serious problem for educators
- 55% expect to leave education sooner than planned because of the pandemic
- 86% have seen more educators leaving the profession or retiring early since the start of the pandemic
Educators do so much for students, but who’s helping them during this stressful time? In a recent EdWeek Research Center survey of 630 teachers from across the country, 52% said fellow teachers are being more supportive compared to before the pandemic. This camaraderie in the face of so many challenges is truly admirable. “It’s hard to put into words what a teacher’s day can be like in a way that the general public can understand,” eighth-grade teacher Amber Chandler told EdWeek. “Teachers, we like our predictability, and we’ve now gone from the routine of school to almost continuous disruptions on both small scales and large scales. I think that has really helped bond teachers together.”
If teachers, administrators, and other staff members in your school district are struggling this school year, Gaggle Therapy can help. Our teletherapy solution offers an option for staff therapy, with sessions covered by school districts so that staff can receive the support they need. Educators have been through so much in the past two years, all while continuing to support students through these uncertain times. It’s crucial that they are taken care of as well.