Opinion

Smith: Here’s 5 solutions for reducing teacher burnout

Posted 4/7/22

Educators across the country feel increasingly burned out due to staff shortages and health concerns that have risen over the past few years. Arizona alone had 31% of unfilled teacher vacancies during the 2021-22 school year.

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Opinion

Smith: Here’s 5 solutions for reducing teacher burnout

Posted

Educators across the country feel increasingly burned out due to staff shortages and health concerns that have risen over the past few years.

Arizona alone had 31% of unfilled teacher vacancies during the 2021-22 school year.

While teachers were stressed before the COVID-19 pandemic, the sudden shift from in-person learning to remote learning and the anxiety of figuring out complex remote learning tools exacerbated the problem.

Now that students are back in the classroom, teachers are working to overcome the learning loss developed from remote learning and ensure students do not fall behind any further, especially as new coronavirus variants keep arising.

After two years of managing the ups and downs of the pandemic and its impact on schools, teachers are feeling emotionally exhausted by this chronic work stress resulting in many teachers feeling burned out. Teacher burnout can harm the performance quality of educators and ultimately affect students’ education and academic achievement.

Teachers who feel mentally overwhelmed and exhausted will be less committed to their classroom and its success, resulting in decreased student encouragement and support. Sudden mood swings, increased irritability, and more absences are also likely to occur in educators. 

Students who are already behind on their learning could experience another academic obstacle as teachers who are experiencing burnout tend to be less productive in the classroom.

Students who are being impacted by teacher burnout will have a sudden decrease in academic performance and motivation, and they will also experience a loss of interest in subjects they used to be excited about. Since students can pick up emotional cues from their educators, their mental and physical health could be impacted as their classroom environment changes.

Now more than ever, it is crucial that schools and parents step in to help reduce teacher burnout in these critical times. While the past two years have been challenging for everyone within the education system, there are many ways schools and parents can show their support to educators to help take some stress off their plates.

As teachers are managing 20 to 30 students at a time, having the support of parents can play a tremendous role in the success of the classroom. Parents can volunteer at the school as classroom aides or assist in holiday or activity planning.

Parents can also register to be substitute teachers, which will allow teachers to take some time off and enjoy a mental health day occasionally. In addition to educator shortages, there is also a significant shortage of substitute teachers.

School support is valuable for reducing burnout in teachers. Schools can play an essential role in providing support to teachers, no matter if they are feeling burned out or not.

Schools can provide teachers with the option to take mental health days and incorporate resources within the school to help teachers in their everyday job and help with their emotional wellness. These resources can include technological assistance in job performance or resources for their overall health.

With the Great Resignation taking place, school and parent support is crucial to helping teachers manage pandemic-related stress and ultimately feel supported in their work environment. Studies have found that 55% of educators across the U.S. are ready to leave their profession earlier than planned.

Teachers who are not feeling supported by their administrative staff, especially as they work to overcome pandemic-related challenges, will be more likely to change schools or professions.

Reducing teacher burnout is an essential priority in ensuring students’ success, as schools work to overcome academic learning loss.

With the impact teacher burnout can have on students’ education, it is key to ensure that students do not fall further behind.

Providing support and resources that assist in aid to teachers and improving staff shortages are all great ways schools and parents can help eliminate work stress and exhaustion.

Editor’s note: Ben Smith is the CEO and creator of Chandler-based Gnosis IQ, an artificial intelligence software that predicts students’ future performance and tracks students’ emotional status throughout the day.

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