• 21 April 2024
It’s Not You, It’s the System: Facing up to the Reality of ‘Teacher Burnout’

It’s Not You, It’s the System: Facing up to the Reality of ‘Teacher Burnout’

Jan 18, 2018

When it comes to demoralized educators, one expert points the finger at the education system, not individual teachers – many of who see tutoring as an alternative to the daily grind.

Almost two-thirds of America’s teachers report feeling “always” or “often” stressed out by their work, according to an American Federation of Teachers’ 2017 survey of 4,000 teachers nationwide. A similar percentage, 58%, experienced mental health issues for at least seven of the last 30 days when surveyed last year.

But being overworked is not the teachers’ burden alone, says Bowdoin College professor Doris Santoro, who wants to invert the narrative around why 8% of teachers leave the profession annually and 16% more resort to tutoring and other side gigs to get by.

Santoro instead points the finger at a toxic brew of financial stress, test-driven performance reviews and curriculum, and a “profound administrative confusion” that diverts teachers’ attention away from doing what they love most—educating America’s children.

The solution, Santoro argues, lies in school leadership and unions recognizing teachers’ primary concerns: their own well-being, their professional integrity, and giving students the education and resources they deserve.

Santoro’s conclusions, based on her own conversations with teachers, echoes the AFT survey’s finding that collaborative relationships between teachers and school management “decrease[s] the likelihood of stressful work, increase[s] the likelihood of [teachers] feeling comfortable bringing up and addressing problems, and make[s teachers] feel more enthusiastic about their jobs.”

Until America’s schools can turn the tide against teacher fatigue, thousands of teachers are finding a way around the stress and red tape by going independent.

banner image from http://neatoday.org/2018/01/18/teacher-burnout-disillusionment/

Teacher Burnout or Demoralization? What’s the Difference and Why It Matters http://neatoday.org/2018/01/18/teacher-burnout-disillusionment/

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