Teachers face new problems post-pandemic

Teachers face new problems post-pandemic

By Al Trch, Staff Writer

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increasing number of teachers leaving and quitting their jobs. Most teachers cannot even get through a lesson with ease anymore. Instead, they are managing poor classroom behavior, dealing with student disruptions, and trying to implement structure and expectations that were lost during the era of online school.

Many teachers had to adjust their way of teaching to adapt to the new generation of students coming out of quarantine and online schooling. A teacher’s priorities went from teaching lessons effectively and measuring academic growth, to being emotional support for their students while managing classrooms full of disruptive and poorly behaved kids.

“I think that being out of school for such a long time negatively affected the academic and emotional growth of children of all ages,” said Laura Trch, a local special education resource teacher. During the time of online school and zoom meetings, young students missed out on crucial face-to-face interaction. The lack of face-to-face interaction resulted in students missing out on the structure and hands-on learning that is normally achieved through in-person schooling.

The lack of in-person learning resulted in a generation of kids who also lack discipline and respect. The drop in teachers may have to do with the way they were being treated in the classroom. Many teachers have had to deal with disrespectful kids and parents, as well as disrespect from other staff members.

To add to the number of reasons why they are quitting and leaving their jobs, teachers are working long hours and dealing with much heavier workloads than before. The additional workload keeps many teachers away from their families for longer periods of time since their afternoons and evenings are being consumed by schoolwork.

“[Teachers] are coming to the realization that their emotional and physical well being is too important to allow to be destroyed,” Trch said. Teachers are expected to just adapt to a whole new way of learning and teaching all while having to carry out their normal responsibilities. For some teachers, the workload is enough for them to realize it is not worth it for the sake of their mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

In a CNBC article by Morgan Smith, she names many of the challenges teachers already face including safety concerns, low salaries, and declining mental health. The pandemic only seemed to make these challenges worse. The whole nation is facing a teacher shortage, due to the number of teachers leaving the industry as well as not being able to find any teachers willing to start their careers post pandemic.

Not only is there a teacher shortage, but a shortage in substitute teachers, bus drivers, and administrators as well. Everyone is dealing with the backlash of COVID-19 and its lasting effects. To combat this issue, many schools and districts are pushing teachers to fill the missing roles. First grade teachers are now being asked to be art teachers and music teachers, as well as substitute teachers and recess supervisors. Since there is no one else to go to, the extra responsibilities fall on the teachers. It is no wonder they are dropping left and right when they are constantly being asked to pull the weight of many positions.

Teachers are also still worried about their safety and health while in the classrooms, as the world still recovers from a global pandemic. During online school, teachers did not have to worry about spreading COVID-19. As in person school resumed, there were still many questions and concerns regarding whether or not vaccinations against COVID-19 and mask wearing should be required or optional. For some schools, masks and vaccinations were not a requirement, and for some teachers that was enough to convince them to leave before their health paid the consequences.

There is no doubt that a global pandemic would alter the way of life for many people. Some people more than others. Teachers’ lives were completely upended by the pandemic and its effects that still linger to this day. Between having to take a completely different approach to teaching and working to implement new programs, interventions, and expectations, being a teacher through the pandemic is no easy task. As everyone begins to go back to their “normal” way of life, pre-pandemic, the hard work and selfless efforts of teachers, administrators, and everyone working in the industry should not go unnoticed. After all, these are the people that are raising, educating, and inspiring the next generation of kids who will change the world.