Education Minnesota: Teachers are stressed and overwhelmed teaching during a pandemic

Minnesota teachers are stressed, overwhelmed and frustrated.

That’s according to the latest survey done by Education Minnesota, the union that represents teachers.

Roughly 9,700 educators responded to questions about the school year, 79 percent of them indicated they are feeling stressed about their work.

Nearly three quarters of teachers, 73 percent, responded that they are overwhelmed currently, while just 8 percent report feeling inspired.

"This is leading to about 30 percent of people who took our survey thinking about quitting, and that concerns me because already we had a teacher shortage going into COVID," Education Minnesota President Denise Specht said

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Specht says workload is a significant concern.

"A majority of the respondents, 57 percent, are providing hybrid learning to students around the state, and more than half of them are very concerned with the workload," she says.

"I’m really worried about the possibility of an exodus out of our profession," she added. "It was hard enough finding people to fill a lot of these positions, and I don’t know where we’re going to find people at this point."

She says now is the time to make a change.

"We’re going to be in this for a long, long time and there are some things that we just have to be doing better, and I know if we had every person in a school system talking about what we need to do, we can do this," she said.

Gaoly Her is a ninth and 10th-grade math teacher and says the hours she is putting in to teach distance and hybrid learning isn’t sustainable.

"I’m spending 12 plus hours a day, I’m working at least six days a week," Her said. "I’m only spending five days a week in the building but I’m spending my weekends grading."

She says more communication and collaboration between administration and staff is key.

"We need more time, direction and support, to be honest," Her said.