Upper Marlboro: (Reform Sasscer) – When the subject of burnout in Education is raised, perhaps the highest profile victim is the educator in Prince George’s county and elsewhere! Without doubt, they are under a lot of stress – especially during a pandemic where they are regularly under increased hours to learn, plan using new technologies, and duties related to health and safety protocols.
But it’s not just the huge workload that COVID-19 has brought with it, and the sometimes terrible decisions that must be made. It’s also routine stressors like administrative work and the IT used to do it. IT can add stress, and it can also alleviate stress. It just depends on the application, how well it has been crafted to meet educators’ needs, and whether educators like it. Electronic recording systems such as schoolmax grading application are a usual suspect for stress, though they can help, too. One teacher was quoted as saying “I am almost done with my career in teaching because schoolmax keep crushing yet we are expected to add grades timely. You cannot have it both ways”, this teacher who wanted to stay anonymous said. There are other comments concerning their experiences in their field. Educator workload intensification is a primary factor in educators choosing to leave the profession early, contributing to workforce shortages that are reaching a critical tipping point.
This is the first feature story in Educator Burnout in Education During the Age of COVID-19 series. It focuses on what causes educator burnout and how successful teachers are fighting the stress that leads to burnout. This feature follows the first two, one on PGCPS Schools grapple with trend – Since schools reopened and the other on PG County Executive violating the law willfully after thousands of dollars in excess contributions review shows.
Following are the experiences and opinions of six veteran teachers from various backgrounds and school organizations, including Parkadale, Laurel, Dr. Henry Wise, Suitland, Charles Herbert Flowers and Tall Oaks. The teachers discuss the stressors of 2022 and tips for their peers throughout the industry to help avoid burnout. We will publish their opinions as we advance their causes. At the moment, Prince George’s county Educator Union (PGCEA) and ACE-AFSCME Local 2250 have become a “water carrier” for CEO Dr. Monica Goldson.
Unions’ role as the bargaining agents for their members allows and/or requires them to negotiate faithfully with local district school boards and administrators and results directly in the collective bargaining agreements (CBAs, or contracts) that govern district and school operations. Education unions such as PGCEA, act as advocates for quality education and investment in education as a public good. This work performs a vital role in framing the narrative about public education and can help shift popular thinking about investment in the resources required to address the problems identified in many of our reports in this blog including drug and alcohol abuse within the school system.
The union representative is there to assist the member, and to protect the Collective Bargaining Agreement rights. The union representative has the right to speak on his or her behalf and to meet with the member privately before the interview with management. However, in PGCPS, this is not how things are happening to protect workers. They request members to hire private lawyers and then collude with the Executive or her representatives to pay off the private attorney hired by staff member. This has been a problem for many years and is part of an organized scheme operating in Maryland to get rid of teachers and other staff members when the litigation is ongoing. A separate post will be shared explaining in detail on how private lawyers hired by employees are bribed to work closely with the Executive, Union, lawmakers and judges to advance corruption and defeat justice for clients in Maryland.
Burnout is a terrible feeling. It can adversely affect behavioral, mental and physical health. And, especially now, it can affect anyone. The pressing daily challenges of the times we find ourselves in have left many, many people from all walks of life feeling overtired to the point of exhaustion – numb and depressed.
Burnout is something everyone must do all they can to protect themselves against. But as we’ve seen in this new era of upsetting news stories, frustrating social distance demands, hectic homeschooling, claustrophobia, disrupted routines and daily repetition, that’s easier said than done.