February 04, 2022

Two years into pandemic, educators need respect, cooperation and patience

Author: Ned Hoskin
Source:  NYSUT Communications
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Throughout the COVID–19 pandemic, America’s educators have shown how committed they are to helping their students thrive.

In every community across America, educators are partnering with parents and families to ensure all students have the freedom to achieve their dreams.

A new survey by the National Education Association shows that educators, who have persevered through the hardest school years in memory, are beyond tired — they are exhausted, increasingly burned out, and more than half of them are indicating that they are ready to leave the profession they love.

“Educators by nature put 110 percent of their effort into helping their students succeed,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. “The added stress of the pandemic has left too many exhausted and has strained existing support systems.

“What they need right now is respect for the incredible work they continue to do two years into this crisis, cooperation and patience as they advocate for the needs of students, and a commitment from district and state leaders to hiring more teachers and support staff who can help them address the needs of all students.

“At the same time, the latest numbers send a clear message that we have to rebuild the teacher pipeline through grow-your-own, residency and other innovative programs before the already existing teacher shortage becomes an insurmountable challenge.”

NYSUT’s Future Forward and Take a Look at Teaching initiatives are advancing short-term and long-term solutions to address the issue. NYSUT is offering grants to local unions for Grow Your Own initiatives to expand and diversify the teacher pipeline. The deadline to apply for round 3 grants is Feb. 25.

According to the NEA survey, 74 percent of respondents said they’ve had to fill in for colleagues or take other duties due to staff shortages. And 80 percent reported that unfilled job openings have led to more work obligations for the educators who remain. Ninety percent said feeling burned out is a serious problem.

Most alarmingly, more than half (55 percent) of members said they plan to leave education sooner than planned because of the pandemic, a significant increase from 37 percent last August.

“We are on the verge of a Great Educator Exodus on a scale we’ve never seen before,” said NEA President Becky Pringle.




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