Teacher Pandemic Burnout: One Year Later, Exhaustion is Real

teacher pandemic burnout exhaustion BeLatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of dallasnews.com

Teaching could quite possibly be one of the most rewarding professions. However, this last year it has taken a turn for the worse.

According to the Center for State and Local Government Excellence, 63 percent of K-12 staff, especially teachers, reported feeling stressed since the beginning of the pandemic. Can we blame them? Their job duties have quadrupled, and we expect them to move it along without flinching twice. 

Pandemic teaching isn’t for the faint of heart, and those teachers who were tasked with this unprecedented strategy are exhausted

Imagine this: The day has barely started, you have three devices ringing at once, you’re sitting in a room cold enough to freeze over hell, and no concealer will hide the fact that you spent too many hours crying over a presentation the night before. 

This might sound like a typical day for anyone in the corporate world; however, this is also a peek into a teacher’s day — before it even starts. 

At least that was my experience, but I’m sure it is not an experience lost on other educators. It’s as though we forgot to cherish the foundation of our future. 

“They expect us to do everything, but where’s the support they [administrators] claim they have for us?” a teacher from Florida, who asked to remain anonymous, told BELatina News. “I am exhausted.”

Before the pandemic, teachers were used to being pulled in various directions. It came with the job, despite missing adequate compensation. 

Teachers were used to running a-wild. We tried to keep their classroom welcoming, updated lesson plans, created educational activities, all while administrators added more to their loaded set of tasks. However, being that students are always the ultimate priority, teachers are known to comply with their unannounced duties. 

Then, the pandemic hit, and that list grew. It has extended for miles, perhaps near Thule, the furthest location mentioned in Greek mythology. 

Not only were we required to complete their typical workload, but we are also now expected to digitize all their work, even if we weren’t technologically savvy. And not adapting at a rapid pace was inexcusable — the perfect recipe for burnout. 

Though many administrators have continued to stress the importance of taking it easy, it is known taking it easy was akin to weakness. We had to show up, put our best face on, and fake it until we made it. Or until it broke us. 

We can’t blame administrators, either. Their plate has been full of demands from the highest point of the totem pole since forever. 

The 2020-2021 school year has felt like an eternity. The parents feel it, the students feel it, and the teachers especially feel it. 

Sadly, this never-ending school year caused teachers to reconsider their profession more than ever. More specifically, 38 percent of K-12 have thought about changing jobs during this ordeal — and many have indeed left.

So, what can you do to make educators feel better? Well, there are a few things you can do. Allow us to make us some suggestions:

  • Let us take a break without feeling like a burden to the system. 
  • Stop placing so much emphasis on state testing — half of our students have been missing in action for most of the year. It is important to remember that many students deal with homelessness, limited access to technology, and more than their little hearts can handle. 
  • Don’t shame us for sloppy writing on the whiteboard. 
  • Share your plans with us before time, so we can properly prepare. 
  • A Starbucks gift card is still nice. 

It’s no secret that teacher morale is on the floor. The only thing that has been consistent is the love for the students. Other than that, we can’t help but wonder if all our work is even worth it at this point. 

Educators were hailed as essential at the beginning of this mess. Oh, yes. The unsung, capeless heroes who exposed themselves to potential death without putting too much thought into it — what a great way to be recognized. 

The praise was endless, and so was the pain of educators.