Educator optimism vs. teacher burnout. Which will prevail in 2022-23?

A majority of educators—71%—are worried about burnout in 2022-2023, but nearly the same number—66%—said they feel optimistic.

Optimism is battling teacher burnout this school year. Optimism is trailing, but—good news—it’s only slightly behind.

While a majority of educators—71%—are worried about burnout in 2022-2023, nearly the same number—66%—said they feel optimistic about this school year, according to a recent survey by Lexia Learning, a provider of literacy instruction.

The seemingly opposing forces are clashing with many educators wondering if their schools will have the resources for basic operations such as food service and transportation at the same time that many students will need more personalized attention to reach or exceed grade-level performance.

For example, three-quarters of the educators surveyed said students will benefit from one-on-one instruction, while more than half believe students will need increased access to classroom specialists, such as special ed teachers, subject-matter experts and school psychologists.

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More than half of the respondents were also worried about teacher shortages and two-thirds were concerned their schools would not have enough bus drivers, custodians, teachers’ aids, substitute teachers and other staff, Lexia’s survey found.

“The prevailing circumstances of staff shortages, combined with students’ need for support, make teacher burnout a very real prospect,” Lexia Learning President Nick Gaehde said in a statement about the survey. “Educators will need an array of support as they strive to help students recover from pandemic-related learning loss.”

When it comes to retention, most educators said the most important steps are higher pay (83%) and smaller classes (71%). Only about half of the respondents believe teachers are compensated fairly. About one-third suggested more professional development would keep teachers in the profession.

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Still, two-thirds of educators reported feeling optimistic about the 2022-23 school year, with more than three-quarters reporting that their schools had taken positive steps by investing in classroom technology. The survey also found:

  • 81% of educators are concerned their students will fall behind academically if they have to return to remote learning
  • 76% worry that students’ social and emotional health would suffer during remote instruction
  • Very few educators (19%) think that they need retraining on the technology required to deliver remote instruction after what they learned during the pandemic
  • More than half of educators (58%) believe their school is providing students with adequate social and emotional support
  • Almost half of educators (44%) think less frequent testing would help students achieve at or above grade-level performance
  • Over one-third of educators (37%) have concerns about how their curriculum addresses unfinished learning or grade level-appropriate topics

Tackling teacher burnout

Among the most significant causes of burnout are shortages that put strains on other teachers to cover empty classrooms. In response, states are easing teacher certification requirements and looking overseas for more educators. Here’s a look at headlines from just the past week:

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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