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Our lawmakers should prevent teachers’ burnout

Think your job has you on the edge of burnout? Ohio’s teachers know how you feel. According to a Gallup poll released earlier this month, nationwide 44 percent of K-12 teachers “always” or “very often” feel burned out. The poll showed female teachers reported higher rates of burnout, at 55 percent, than male teachers, at 44 percent.

“The result is a workforce that is burned out and unfortunately leaving the profession at a high rate,” Gallup noted.

When the Ohio Capital Journal took a look at how those numbers translated to the Buckeye State, Shari Obrenski, president of the Cleveland Teachers Union, talked about the many roles teachers play — educators, standardized test gurus, social workers, guidance counselors … and now maybe defenders.

“What the pandemic did was essentially lay bare all of the problems that existed in education,” Obrenski said. “More and more is being put on (a teacher’s) plate and nothing is being taken off.”

Ohio teachers groups call meddling from lawmakers when it comes to lesson plans and changes in their role when it comes to security “demoralizing,” as well.

It is difficult for districts to attract and retain teachers; and it is difficult for teachers to maintain their passion for the job to which they have dedicated their lives. According to Obrenski, while this state of burnout is being imposed upon them, teachers feel as though they are not being heard.

“Something that is really important is a teacher’s voice in decision-making; Having teachers be part of the solution instead of condemning them as part of the problem,” Obrenski said.

We ask so much of them. We heave an immense responsibility onto their shoulders. Certainly if teachers feel as though they are not being heard, lawmakers and other officials must do all they can to ensure teachers’ voices are part of finding the solution to the problems we are asking them to solve.

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