Teachers Are Burned Out and on the Verge of Leaving the Classroom

The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting not only parents and students, but also educators at school, causing them to become burned out, resulting in a significant increase in teachers leaving and retiring from the education field.

According to Roseangela Mendoza, a middle school social studies teacher at Ethical Community Charter School in New Jersey, who spoke to The 74, teachers are now at a burnout stage due to parents asking teachers what to do with their children and asking them to put in extra time and work to finish work – which forces her to question herself why she’s doing this.

According to Gallup, 44 percent of K-12 educators said they either always or very often felt burned out at work – with parents expecting teachers to not only focus on educating their children, but also help with mental health and social care due to lack of collaboration with pandemic effect, as well as navigating the change of protocols initiated by covid-19 – followed by college and university workers who said they either “always” or “very often” feel burned out at work.

Chronic stress was also discovered in teachers who were teaching children how to use Zoom and assisting students with mental health issues from Covid that the teacher did not have to deal with.

Surprisingly, K-12 educators had the highest percentage of burnout, with college and university workers coming in second at 35%. Photo: Gallup

Rand Corportation also stated that the pandemic’s outbreak forced 71% of teachers to change their teaching model at least once during the 2020-21 school year, with student absenteeism also having an impact on the curriculum, making it difficult for teachers to track students’ academic levels. “Once you’re teaching the same thing over and over and over again it’s hard to be passionate,” Garrett Smiley, a co-founder of Tyton Partners, a consulting firm, said.

GBAO also reported that more than 55% of teachers said they are more likely to retire earlier than planned, resulting in a teacher shortage in America. “We have about 300,000 teachers who actually leave every single year, may before retirement,” American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said.

More than half of teachers said they will leave education because of the Covid-19, nearly twice as many as in July 2020. Photo: GBAO

“I had a friend say to me, ‘You know, three weeks ago we were locking our doors because of school shootings again, and now we’re opening the window for COVID.’ It’s really all a bit too much.” Said Meghan Hatch-Geary, an English teacher at Woodland Regional High School in Connecticut.

Concerned that teachers are retiring, schools in some districts, according to US News, offered incentives for workers – Los Angeles, for example, raised incentives and bonuses by 5%, which were successful in attracting teachers back to schools.

Teachers being burned out and stressed, are caused by inflexible schedules and a lack of personal time, so it is critical for state and district departments to set up and make flexible the schedule for teachers.

According to GBAO, educators sent proposals and solutions to address this issue. 81 percent of educators strongly supported proposals to raise educator salaries, with a total of 96 percent supporting this proposal. Furthermore, hiring more teachers and providing additional mental health/behavioral supports for students were proposed as the next main factors for burn out.

Despite the fact that teachers are leaving because they believe they are underappreciated for their efforts, teachers still enjoy teaching.  “Despite all of this, I still miss teaching – At the end of every year, I could look back and think I made a difference. I could name specific students whose lives I had impacted in a positive way. The last year, I couldn’t look at any students and say I had made a difference for them and would make a difference for them.” said Daphne Gomez, the founder of teacher career coach, to Edsource.

Now that parents’ expectations of teachers are so high, and teachers are reaching their teaching limits, we must take this issue seriously because K-12 education is unstable, requesting retired teachers to return and putting parents in charge as teacher assistants. For the future that children may face, the district and the state department must continue to monitor teachers’ mental health and stability – before we lose all teachers.


Read more: Absenteeism as a COVID-19 Effect — How Do Schools Respond?