Teacher Burnout

Teachers across the country have expressed feelings of being burnt out from teaching over the years.


Katie Tippet

Ryan Kelly coaching the varsity boys basketball home game at Liberty.

School has always focused on students, how they are doing academically and mentally. But what about the people behind the scenes of it all? As school progresses through the pandemic teachers have expressed feelings of being more worn out from their career than ever before.

Teachers and school administrators are responsible for watching over and advising hundreds of students for almost eight hours a day, which would be a lot for anyone to handle. On top of watching over students, teachers have to guide them, and take part in the responsibility of and getting students off on the right path. Throughout the years students have lost much respect for teachers and have lost motivation for work. When students put less effort into their work, teachers have to work extra hard to catch them up. Students don’t hold their education at the same level of importance as they did in the past, and schools don’t allow teachers to be as strict on students as they used to be.

Many things about schools have improved over the years as new information and new technology come out, however newer technology and the growth in curriculum has had a few negative impacts as well. Modern day technology such as phones and computers distract students which causes them to fall farther behind, causing teachers to take more time to catch them up. The internet and social media have made it way easier for students to avoid doing their work, and has caused way more distraction.

Ryan Kelly, math, shared his thoughts; “Kids have, at their fingertips, access to what’s going on at West High, what’s going on at City High, what’s going on in Cedar Rapids, and they can find it within five seconds.” Students have a harder time focusing due to everything going on. Technology could also be contributing to students’ mental health, which could also cause a lack of motivation for school.

Coronavirus has also caused teachers’ exhaustion to increase more rapidly. Teachers had to adjust to teaching online as well as students had a long break from regular school, which meant they fell out of routines. Over the years students’ mental health in students has gotten worse, while anxiety and depression have increased.

“I feel like we went too lenient on students and now we have enabled them to not do any work… In a way we’ve increased their anxiety and increased their depression, because we’ve never forced them to move forward, and when something difficult happens to you in life, you have to move forward,” said Peggy Dolson, English.

I feel like we went too lenient on students and now we have enabled them to not do any work.

— Peggy Dolson

Teacher burnout has caused many teachers to quit their jobs, or miss out on time with their families. A school day is eight hours, and teachers also have to spend much time grading and making lesson plans, or time in meetings or conferences, outside of the school day, which many people don’t consider. Last year, Liberty lost a large number of teachers and staff. At least ten teachers left, some continued teaching in other buildings and some found new professions. As of now, there are 12,000 open teaching positions in Iowa and ¼ of the teachers in the US are considering leaving teaching.

“I think that the biggest unexpected thing of teaching is just all the little things that are required of teachers to do when they’re not actually teaching. The lessons you’re doing in front of people is what’s expected, but the grading, the parent communication, just all of the clerical stuff,” shared Allie Kelly, one of Liberty’s math teachers and head volleyball coaches.

Chloe Oppelt

Another factor that isn’t considered is the teachers who coach sports or run clubs. Coaches have to spend many hours each week training students, and a lot of times at the games. Games are often more than an hour away or result in really late nights for coaches and players. Teachers who coach or run clubs could be at school for almost all of the day. While they are compensated for coaching, it still adds to the total amount of hours they have to dedicate to time away from their personal lives.

Other things to consider are the money teachers have to put into extra supplies or classroom decor. Teachers also often get disrespected by students, there is a past example at Liberty of a conflict with a student that resulted in the teacher leaving Liberty. Parents can also criticize teachers, and other staff members.Teachers constantly have a lot on their shoulders. All of Liberty High School’s teachers deserve much appreciation for the dedication they’ve put into their students and their jobs.

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