Administrator support essential to maintain teacher morale

Researchers found evidence of teacher burnout and high levels of stress
By: | October 19, 2020

Administrator support was one of the most important factors in maintaining teacher morale during COVID’s disruptions, according to University of Winnipeg research on Canadian schools.

“Number one for administrators was providing teachers permission to not be on call every waking hour of the day,” says assistant professor Lesley Eblie Trudel, who is a former K-12 administrator.

In a comparison of teacher surveys done at the beginning of the pandemic and late this summer, Trudel and her team found evidence of teacher burnout and high levels of stress.

Trudel recommends that leaders start with the following steps to reduce burnout:

  1. Focus on fewer resources. Teachers, in some cases, are being flooded by new tech and other tools for online learning. Districts get more traction when they start with a shorter list of resources and allow teachers to master those platforms before introducing others.
  2. Encourage professional learning communities. PLCs, of course, were thriving before COVID. Administrators should recommit to harnessing the power of PLCs that allow teachers to share ideas about student engagement, project-based learning and other initiatives.
    PLCs also provide teachers space to talk about their feelings about the pandemic and the disruptions of education. “It helps them feel like they’re not in this alone,” Trudel says.
  3. Communicate clearly. Administrators should provide teachers with a unified message by aligning communications across the district. Central officer leaders need to be on the same page with building principals and other leaders in providing information to teachers.

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