Pressure of COVID-19 pandemic raises concerns about Michigan teachers getting burned out

Affect of teacher burnout could be felt for years

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has put unprecedented pressure on parents, students and teachers. There are concerns about teachers getting burned out, and the affect could be felt for years.

In most Metro Detroit school districts, classes have been back in session for a month. Whether instructors are doing face-to-face instruction or reinventing their lessons for virtual learning, they’re working hard to do right by their students.

Even though the school year has just begun, there are already cracks emerging. Educators believe teachers are already starting to burn out.

Kenneth Gutman is the superintendent of Walled Lake Consolidated Schools and the vice president of the Tri-County Alliance, which represents 500,000 students and educators.

“Our teachers are working twice as hard,” Gutman said. “It’s very difficult. I worry about those at the end of their career."

Voncile Campbell, of the Detroit Public Schools Community District, reads stories to her students.

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Natalie Ford teaches remotely in the Berkley School District. She said without her students, she feels like she has lost a part of her soul.

Sandi Wade, of Westland, gets up early in the morning to work on lesson plans, fix technology, teach remotely, go home to teach her children and then grade papers and answer phone calls at all hours.

“I am worried about burnout,” Wade said. “Sometimes I can sustain it for one day. Sustaining it for a couple of months is going to be hard.”

The long-term effect is that for the last 10 years, the venerable profession of those entering the teaching field has been on the decline, and COVID-19 could be death knell.

“People aren’t going into teaching,” Gutman said.

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