"The level of stress is exponentially higher. It's like nothing I've experienced before."
It's a sentiment that NPR heard from teachers across the United States. After a year of uncertainty, long hours and juggling personal and work responsibilities, many told NPR they had reached a breaking point.
Teaching is one of the most stressful occupations in the U.S., tied only with nurses, a 2013 Gallup poll found. Jennifer Greif Green, an education professor at Boston University, says the additional stress that teachers are reporting during the pandemic is worrying because it doesn't affect only educators — it also affects students.
"The mental health and well-being of teachers can have a really important impact on the mental health and well-being of the children who they're spending most of their days with," Green explains. "Having teachers feel safe and supported in their school environments is essential to students learning and being successful."
Districts are trying to help — with yoga classes, counseling sessions and webinars on mental health. Some teachers have organized trivia nights or online happy hours where colleagues can just vent. Teachers told NPR they force themselves to take breaks, go for a bike ride or call a friend. Some have started therapy.
But most of the educators NPR spoke with say they're so exhausted that even self-care feels like one additional thing to do.
To read more of Kavitha Cardoza's article, please click here.