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Open Conversation: Mental health in teachers post-pandemic

Posted at 1:56 PM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 14:56:27-04

WACO, Texas — According to a new survey of U.S. K-12 educators conducted by Merrimack College's Winston School of Education and Social Policy, two in five educators are looking to leave the profession.

“It’s a shocking number,” Dan Sarofian-Butin, professor at Merrimack College, said. “We depend on the dedication and experience of teachers to provide a quality education for our children, and a mass exodus from the profession would be disastrous."

They claim poor mental health, lack of resources, and no longer finding their job satisfying as the main reasons; many of these problems stem from the pandemic, and the challenges virtual learning brought for them as well.

Only 12% of teachers surveyed say they feel satisfied with their work. That number is down from 62% the last time they held this survey about a decade ago.

As challenges push many out of the field, the stress of districts now being short-staffed is also adding to the burnout of teachers.

"Teaching is one of the most exhilarating things you can do, but it's also exhausting," Sarofian-Butin said. "Now it's this double exhaustion that's happening because teachers are no longer staying in their jobs."

It's so important for teachers to take care of their mental health during the school year. Experts recommend eating healthy, making space for personal time, preparing schedules in advance, and speaking with colleagues about current challenges.