April 9: Weekend Thoughts — Teacher Burnout
Is this weekend newsletter arriving on the weekend? Yes. Was it supposed to be completed last weekend? Also, yes. The main theme for this week’s newsletter was teacher burnout and it is funny that our most popular article was about just that (Teachers are Done. No, Really by Dina Ley). We have good news to share about the publication and the podcast but you are also seeing the bad news in real time — teacher burnout and exhaustion bringing you late newsletters.
For the first few years of this publication (maybe 2016–2019) we did a great job of highlighting the issues in our education system(s). We shared perspectives from teachers, students, parents, professors, administrators, and so on. Over those years we reached millions of readers and started some pretty amazing conversations (in my opinion). But right around the start of the pandemic, maybe a bit before like around the start of 2020, we wanted to shift our focus from pointing out issues to working to share solutions to those issues.
This ongoing pandemic has taken many of those solutions that we may have thought to be possible and turned them upside down. The pandemic has highlighted new areas for improvement and has shown us other solutions. That being said, it has decimated the teacher workforce and is changing education in many ways — possibly forever.
I am not articulate enough to best portray these levels of burnout so I suggest you check out Dina Ley’s article linked above. But I want to turn our attention to the students with this burnout in mind. What does it mean when schools’ best and most talented (and trusted) adults are leaving the profession by the thousands? Forget the academic side of it for one moment and think about what message this sends the students?
All signs are telling us that many negative changes are coming to the education system(s) if we don’t step in soon with solutions. Solutions that are grounded in equity, social justice, and sustainability for all students
Like the latest IPCC report about the state of our ecosystems which we all rely on, the education system needs solutions implemented as soon as possible. Many are uncomfortable with the needed solutions for our ecosystems but that does not…