With teachers across the country complaining of extreme burnout, school districts are trying out big changes, including longer holiday breaks and shorter days. Educators and experts say teachers’ severe burnout is raising concerns about turnover — and more broadly, the state of education.
Nearly one in four teachers said they were likely to leave their jobs at the end of last school year, compared with one in six teachers who said the same, on average, before the pandemic, according to a report by the RAND Corporation from March 2021.
The stress in the classroom has been further complicated “by the fact that many [teachers] are working in communities that have chosen to politicize what should be public health guidance around their workplace,” says Thomas Dee, a professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education.
The known effects of teacher burnout has some districts looking for strategies to better support teachers. Two school districts in Virginia recently announced early departure plans for students on select Wednesdays as a way to alleviate ongoing teacher stress and fatigue due to the pandemic.