While teaching is arguably one of the most important professions out there, it can be a pretty thankless job. Low pay, difficult students and parents, and lack of resources can leave any teacher feeling frustrated. Throw a global pandemic into the mix and you have a recipe for burnout and job dissatisfaction.
Teaching in the Age of COVID-19
When the pandemic first hit and schools were forced to close, many teachers were left not knowing what to do or how to successfully teach their students. For teachers with children of their own, balancing child care and their classroom seemed impossible. Some way or another, teachers figured it out and managed to get through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Unfortunately, the nightmare of the last school year did not end over the summer. Instead, many teachers were told that they would have to return to school and teach in-person despite COVID-19 still spreading at a rapid rate. Considering new policies, fear of illness, and the usual grievances that come with teaching, it is unsurprising that a recent survey conducted by Horace Mann shows that many teachers are quite unhappy with their jobs.
Many of us thought that by the start of the 2021-2022 school year, COVID-19 would be behind us. Now with the coming of a new school year, we are again asking teachers to provide a solid education to our children while the spread of the Delta variant is an ongoing threat.
The online and hybrid teaching model has changed the way teachers work and the amount of time they spend working. As of November 2020, 77% of teachers report that they spend more time working than they did a year ago. On top of that, more than 60% reported that they enjoy their jobs less than they did last year and 59% report that they do not feel secure or only somewhat secure about their school district’s safety and health precautions with COVID-19. Based on this information it is unsurprising that 27% of teachers are considering leaving the profession, whether that be retiring early, taking a leave of absence, or quitting teaching altogether.
How to Reduce Burnout
We have seen some changes and improvements since last year. Most school districts now have lessened restrictions and have returned to in-person teaching. However, teachers are still facing drastic changes in their normal teaching practices, and a significant amount of uncertainty in regards to the future of the pandemic and how that will impact their jobs. The stress placed on teachers makes them significantly more susceptible to developing burnout. TLC-Virtual Resiliency is offering webinars with licensed psychologists on ways to prevent burnout and build resiliency in teachers. Here are some of the tips that will be touched upon in these webinars:
- Stay healthy: This includes exercising, getting enough sleep, and eating healthy. When your body and mind is healthy, you will better be able to take on challenges that arise throughout the year.
- Make time for yourself: Your personal life is just as important as your professional life. Take time to focus on hobbies and time with family and friends. Having time for yourself outside work will help you prevent burnout.
- Communicate with your colleagues: Other teachers are going through similar struggles, so communicating with them can provide good social support.
- Focus on your strengths: It is easy to perseverate on negative feedback from parents and administrators, which can leave you feeling incompetent and negative about work. It’s important to focus on the things you excel at so you’re positive in your day. Even if your day doesn’t go as planned, try to think of one thing that went well.
- Leave schoolwork at school: Setting boundaries with yourself and keeping work at work can help reduce burnout because home becomes a place where you can relax rather than an extension of stress.
According to Richard Milner in CNBC’s article, in addition to improved pay and school funding, “educators really, really, really need strong psychological and mental health support at this moment.” TLC-VR is here to help teachers…