An 18-month study on 749 Australian teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic reveals the immense work-related stress and burnout faced by these individuals across different demography. With the closure of schools, colleges and universities, teachers had to bear the responsibility of making the shift from traditional learning to online mode seamless.
For over two years, these teachers were frontline workers supporting students' education in the country. Unfortunately, the lack of institutional support has increased job dissatisfaction amongst teachers. Some of the leading environmental factors contributing to teachers' burnout include:
However, instead of assisting teachers and providing them with adequate support, several institutes overburdened teachers to compensate for staff shortages. On top of extending working hours by 1-3 hours, teachers had to extend their support to non-academic related administrative work.
Despite the rising positive COVID cases, several institutes have forced teachers to travel to the institutes and begin offline classes despite the teachers’ reluctance to risk their lives. Furthermore, an increased sense of accountability and a fear of failure has led teachers to reconsider their position.
According to several studies, the workload was the most common stressor teachers faced during the COVID-19 period. This was closely followed by family health. Additionally, emotional and mental exhaustion, depression and anxiety are common factors affecting teachers' morale.
Unless educational institutions can recognise and provide adequate support to teachers, retaining educators for a long time will be impossible.