August 14, 2020

Pandemic’s heavy toll on school leaders– what’s needed for a successful school year

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

In early May, a survey was conducted to understand how urban school leaders were feeling during the COVID-19 crisis. Over 1,000 principals, assistant principals and district-level supervisors from New York—then the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States—participated.

Leaders were asked to share the three emotions they had experienced the most during the prior two weeks. An overwhelming 95 percent of the feelings they named could be classified as “negative.” The most commonly mentioned emotion was anxiety, which stood out glaringly above all others—overwhelmed, sad, stressed, frustrated, uncertain and worried.

The toll of the coronavirus on our nation’s school leaders is palpable.

Frustration, stress and anxiety each impact leaders’ motivation, engagement and physical and mental health—and in some cases can lead to burnout. And although at first they may seem interchangeable, they are in fact distinct feelings, each with their own source and solution.

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