Andrea Germanos Labor Pandemic

Teachers Union Warns Pandemic Burnout Destroying Schools

Coronavirus Corona Virus Covid Mask Covid-19

By Andrea Germanos / Common Dreams

New polling out Tuesday reveals pervasive burnout among the nation’s educators as pandemic-related staffing shortages and other difficulties drive a potential exodus from the teaching profession.

Released by the National Education Association, the nation’s largest union of any profession, the member survey shows, according to NEA president Becky Pringle, that “after persevering through the hardest school years in memory, America’s educators are exhausted and increasingly burned out.”

While staffing shortages at the nation’s schools existed pre-pandemic, Pringle said the current situation represents “an unprecedented staffing crisis across every job category” that hurts both education professionals and students alike.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents, for example, said that they’ve had to fill in for colleagues or take on additional duties. Schools being short-staffed also means students who need one-on-one instruction aren’t getting that need met.

The survey was conducted January 14-24 by GBAO Strategies and paints a clear picture of educators who are absolutely fried.

According to an NEA statement, 90% of members said feeling burned out is a serious problem, and 67% said it was a very serious problem. Ninety-six percent of respondents support boosting educator salaries to help address the problem.

Covid-related stress is widespread, as 91% report it being a serious problem for educators.

That stress is prompting many to at least start thinking about packing their bags.

The survey found that 55% of members plan to leave the field sooner than planned because of the pandemic compared to just 37% who felt that way in August.

In terms of creating safer environments amid the airborne virus, 95% of members say they back improved ventilation in schools though just 38% reported witnessing such improvements.

And while public health experts stress the need for continued mask-wearing, over a third of NEA members say mask and mitigation policies have actually been loosened since the start of the school year.

Pringle didn’t mince words in describing the situation.

“This is a five-alarm crisis,” she said. “We are facing an exodus as more than half of our nation’s teachers and other school staff are now indicating they will be leaving education sooner than planned. If we’re serious about getting every child the support they need to thrive, our elected leaders across the nation need to address this crisis now.”

Beyond getting “our collective respect,” she said that properly responding to the crisis entails “paying educators like the professionals they are, ensuring that their students can get the mental health support they need, protecting them from Covid, and addressing the staff shortages so our educators can do what they do best—helping every student thrive.”


21 comments

  1. The “crisis” is 2 years old now. Certainly for children, even with the more virulent delta strain, they have a 99.997% survival rate, IF they have no comorbidities and are healthy. The omicron strain is nothing more than a head cold for healthy people who are not in the 3 vulnerable cohorts.

    The “government” can do NOTHING to stop a highly infectious airborne respiratory virus from spreading. The “vaccines” do absolutley nothing to stop the spread & catching of Covid. That much is obvious, particularly in countries that have 90+% double vaxxed like Australia, Israel, Ireland, Gibraltar, Porugal etc etc. Israel, which completed its 4th “booster” recently & had the highest per capita amount of cases in the world.

    The CDC even admitted {like we didn’t know already} that face masks are simply decorations that do nothing to stop minute airborne particles.

    So, give it up already.

    1. “The “government” can do NOTHING to stop a highly infectious airborne respiratory virus from spreading. ”

      The US government can’t. Meanwhile, in China

      1. We don’t know which of the many interventions mandated in China, have been responsible for lowering their reported case rates – or if the reported rates were even accurate.

        We know that they’ve recently gone to a series of societal lockdowns on whole cities – that would certainly fail in any collision with the rights of people under our Federal and state Constitutions. But they have ALSO been having great successes with SAFE and EFFECTIVE EARLY TREATMENT… In China rather than HydroxyChloroquine – they give people Chloroquine, the predecessor. It appears to work pretty well…

        So it’s a MISTAKE to assume that draconian lockdown policies are what’s had an effect – when they’ve been doing a whole raft of things to respond to the outbreaks there. Not all are draconian or totalitarian. We don’t really know if their numbers are truthful and accurate. And we don’t know which interventions worked and which didn’t.

        What we DO KNOW – is that Florida does none of the stupid and unconstitutional crap that they do in New York or California – and they have better case numbers, infection fatality rates, and health outcomes. Sweden and the Nordic Countries all abandoned the unpopular restrictions and a doing just fine. Germany and Austria and Australia have doubled down on the stupidest and most draconian and unlawful responses – and are all doing quite poorly… So let’s look “at the science”, and use peer-review, from real critics – rather than cancelling them.

  2. Funny the way this story COMPLETELY IGNORES and OBFUSCATES the reality, that a good number of those who’ve left teaching were either Fired, or Quit over the UnLawful NUREMBERG CRIME mandates that all teachers and staff participate in Human Medical Experimentation, through compelled and coerced mRNA Gene Therapy injections. Amongst those who took the shots – a certain percentage will have been disabled or killed by “Adverse Events” (also known as iatrogenic/medically-induced death and injury). I’m aware of many teachers and staff here in the LAUSD who have been forced out of the profession – not by burnout, but by Bureaucracy and unions, which SOLD THEM OUT.

    1. Exactly. Same as the supply shortages. Its the governments inept, woke & power grab reaction to this tinpot virus that has caused these problems along with inflation, debt, depression, bankruptcies, loss of rights/choices/freedoms etc etc etc. The real “pandemic” is only just starting.

  3. And the ignorant, loudmouth, dangerous parents spouting utter nonsense and bullying not only teachers & other sane, rational parents but also children for wearing masks, etc., should be enough to keep many genuinely caring people from joining the profession for many years to come.

    The right-wing takeover of schoolboards and their neverending crusade to ban books will surely be another deal breaker.

    1. The Bullying and coercion is the FORCING of people and their children, and teachers and staff, and everyone else – to use an EXPERIMENTAL MEDICAL INTERVENTION in the form of the medically useless and CONTRAINDICATED masks. The only ones that have ANY proven efficacy, are P100 respirators and above. And those are expensive and cumbersome – and nobody is demanding those, at present.

      Nobody should be bullied for making the poorly informed decision to wear masks… But I don’t see that happening. I see people being bullied for REFUSING TO WEAR MASKS, and/or claiming lawful or medical exemptions from the unconstitutional requirements. So you’ve managed to INVERT REALITY, just like our society has also managed to invert totalitarianism.

      1. Thank you…nice of you to say so… I just came across this – over at the website of the Greatest Investigative Rrport that I onow if – Whitney Webb… It explains an awful lot about why the Teachers’ Unions all seem to be listening to Bill Gates and his megalomaniacal Davos’ buddies…

        https://unlimitedhangout.com/2021/12/investigative-reports/how-education-international-is-pushing-teachers-unions-into-the-4th-industrial-revolution/

      2. @Another+WorldView+Is+Possible

        As I said in this string, school is far more about socializing than it is about educating. Ralph Nader claimed that we all learn what we really need to know from school by a very early age. (On the other hand, the movie The Gods Must be Crazy correctly stated that modern humans have made their society so complicated that their children are sentenced to 15-20 years of school just to learn to live in it.)

        The massive over-testing is done at the behest and for the benefit of employers, who want people coming out of school to be able to do their jobs competently. Testing has little or nothing to do with educating students, and in fact more often than not does just the opposite.

        School should be teaching kids HOW to think, not WHAT to think. I’ve been lucky to have had several teachers who did this, and it’s been of great benefit. But again, if the schools are just trying to create employees for the ruling class and/or to socialize students, they not only won’t teach kids how to think, they’ll prevent them from learning that.

        I was very lucky that I got very good public education all the way through high school, even though I hated school until I went to law school when I was 45. I am strongly opposed to private schools and think they should be outlawed. Private schools allow people to ignore public schools and starve them of funding, because the parents of kids in private schools foolishly and selfishly object to paying taxes for public schools when their kids don’t go there. I have very progressive friends who sent their kid to private school for a while, and I made my feelings about this known to them (diplomatically of course). My situation was not the norm, and public schools should be funded equally and adequately. Of course the funding problem is nowhere near as important than what’s being taught and what’s not (see above), but the funding problem creates great inequality and must also be dealt with.

  4. Giving them a pay raise will solve all the problems? Viruses really do not care how much its victims earn. And even when they leave the teaching profession, where are they going to go? High wage union jobs are nearly nonexistent now and EVERY job exposes you to sick people. The only change that needs to happen is eliminate the useless mandates, hire them back, and hire many more!

  5. Get real. Pre-planned-demic? Schools were a disaster. K12 has always been broken. Youth are not engaged. Teaching is mostly paper pushing and classroom management. The number of learning disabilities? Out the roof.

    All of this was studied way back in 1983 when I started teaching at the community college level. Now you want to talk about gutting of community colleges? And adjunct faculty treatment? And you want to talk about vapid union leaders?

    It’s groundhog day with today’s journalists. Bizarre and part of the billionaires’ plans to privatize and digitize everything.

    1. I formed a book club, this past summer, with a half a dozen high school graduates, from the class of 2022.
      One was the class co-valedictorian.
      Those children have had their youth wasted by an education system that doesn’t give a god dam about them.
      It sure as hell didn’t educate them.
      The people who funded this education deserve a refund.
      And, the kids should receive punitive damages.

      1. The educational model we use originated with Frederick the Great in Germany. And modern “innovations” like teaching to tests, and the standardization and social engineering and behavioralism being practiced in our classrooms – post “No Child Left Behind” and “Common Core” etc…is obviously failing people. We need more Critical Thinking and writing to be taught…less memorization, regurgitation and crowd/societal control.

        I was lucky. I went to private school from Middle School onward. It encouraged people to become REAL SCHOLARS, for life – and not just a test, or a degree. When I got to University, it turns out that I’d “tested out” of several requirements, based on high scores on AP tests, etc.. Luckily, most Universities will give students remedial education, for anything that kids missed, in High School and earlier.

    2. Yeah. This article really convolutes the data. Pandemic burnout isn’t about safety measures for me and my colleagues. It’s been about pre-pandemic problems compounding post-pandemic and the unveiling of gross incompetence of administrators and unwillingness of many teachers to change as well.

      We knew admin weren’t good at their jobs, but as long as they left us alone we could move along doing what we do well. Now though, we need them to be raising their game (which means preparing for possibilities and whole systems thinking instead of reactionary fixes to hysterical bs in the moment) and they’re simply not capable which has placed us in increasingly precarious positions with students who have not matured as they normally would, parents who had to deal with their children for so long at home that they now appear to want nothing to do with their child’s education or behavior, and need I mention tik tok challenges that urge kids to physically abuse and even kill us?

      There are plenty of teachers unwilling to step up also, wanting to perform in ways before the ills of society became so in our face, unable to accept the reality of the world the kids are living in. That’s taking it’s toll on those of us who are looked to to handle problems because we’re the ones who have proven capable (or are simply trained). At this point I barely leave my room, have stopped responding to anymore emails that ask what someone can do about xyz, and take back routes to the bathroom to avoid crossing paths with anyone.

      We are literally working in the trenches as society collapses. Very few people are able to admit to that. Denial and acceptance are both exhausting.

      1. @Anonywho???
        I fully agree, great comment. My late mother and one of my closest friends were/are teachers, so I know this stuff almost first-hand. My mother taught in the slums in Chicago — she said that middle class and rich kids didn’t need her, she wanted to help kids who really needed her help — and my friend teaches at a small alternative school that is constantly scrambling for funding. As you said, the pandemic merely exacerbated the problems of lack of funding for public schools and the resulting lack of staff, it didn’t cause them. My mother had to buy school supplies out of her own pocket — this was in the 1960s, now I hear it’s common! — for her students in the slums, while my brother and I went to a public school also in Chicago that never lacked for supplies.

        There are multi-layered major societal problems here. Our toxic rulers want to keep everyone scared and obedient, and the pandemic has proven to be a great tool for doing that. It’s not that the pandemic isn’t real or that vaccines don’t work to some extent — whether the mRNA vaccines are actually safe is another issue and as yet unknown — but instead that the rich & powerful through their paid off media and politicians have grossly exaggerated both the threats from the virus and the effectiveness of the vaccines.

  6. As a kid, I hated school from day one. As an adult, I’ve learned that school in this society is far more for socializing kids to make them conform than it is to teach them anything meaningful. My late mother and one of my closest friends were/are teachers, so nothing personal here, just sayin’.

  7. anyone that has read Dewey, Mann, Gorer, Postman, etc are fully aware US schools are designed to socialize, not to educate. the incompetence is revealed by international comparisons. americans rank below all developed nations and many others despite tat US teachers are paid more than all others, excepting 3 nations

  8. Ahh, capitalism. Throwaway dirty endless consumerism. Planned obsolescence. So, you expect a country — USA — based on superstition, baby-mamma-old people killing and raping, pillaging, all of that Indian Pacification early roots, and still going on — to be anything but dog-eat=dog, survival of the richest? Now now, all those forever chemicals, all the plastic in our blood, all the oil spills, all those downwind nights of nuclear shining, all the lead in water, all the schools built like prisons, all the prisons, all of that, you expect this dirty society where a buck can be made on death, disease, sickness, hope, fear, dreams, paranoia, education, clean water, clean air, clean food, you expect then, the school systems to be somehow separate from this perverted system?

    Then, all these elites at Scheer Post, and the know-it-alls, somehow knowing what happens in classes and the nitty-gritty of education, k12, community colleges, universities, continuing education, it is comedy central. I know, since I have been a teacher all over the place, K12, colleges, universities, prisons, military bases, gang prevention programs, gifted and talented, do you think educational committees and state capitals and union heads and academic pencil necks want me at the table on how to fix our educaton system?

    Never.

    So, have at the discussions with little expertise in any arena.

    Later, Haeder:

    https://dissidentvoice.org/2020/03/opening-eyes-paul-haeders-stories-of-the-viet-nam-legacy-in-america/

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