DCPS must address teacher burnout

The Beacon Staff

Teacher burnout affects everyone in the building. Through no fault of their own, teachers are often unable to dedicate the complete focus needed to educate Wilson’s students. Lesson plans and time for students often have to be cut short to pick up extra responsibilities placed upon them by DCPS. It’s unfair to students and teachers that DCPS is unable to recognize the stress of teaching at this moment.

With all the demands that school presents, it’s easy to forget that we’re still in a pandemic, and teachers are essentially frontline workers. Beyond grading and lecturing, teachers this semester have been expected to protect themselves from COVID, provide emotional guidance to anxious students, and even fill in as substitute teachers. With as little as a day’s notice, staff are asked to sacrifice their planning periods to pick up classes for absent teachers. 

Not only is this unfair, it’s unsustainable. Teachers who are burnt out take more days off,  perpetuating the cycle and also leaving students behind. Already overworked teachers should not have to carry the weight of those around them. They’re left with less time for their own responsibilities that have been made even harder by this year’s extra-large class sizes.

Burnout for teachers is a systemic problem that can’t just be fixed with a few days off. For now, relaxing grading and curriculum restrictions for teachers could alleviate symptoms of burnout. Long-term solutions, like hiring more teachers or actual substitute teachers, won’t come cheap, but high rates of turnover are costly and time-consuming. •