Yeah, I’m pissed. I’m really pissed – but not for myself.
When Covid hit, I am one of the very fortunate ones.
My career has always allowed me to work from home. And I built a very decent home gym as well and I have advocated more and more people should do the same if they can, and many of you have.
So when Covid hit, it didn’t alter my life a great deal, and business-wise – more and more people are seeking online distance learning and one on one Coaching, which certainly did not hurt my business at all either.
So, I am one of the fortunate few, and I know that.
But it seems to me that when calamity strikes so many people only think selfishly – remember the silly run on toilet paper when this all began?
Anyway, it seems most of us around the world have now adapted to a new normal.
But this new normal is affecting people in many different ways.
‘Back to school’ just began and it’s turning out to be a nightmare for teachers everywhere
AND THIS ISN’T RIGHT!
Many of my clients just happen to be teachers. And I am not talking about a few teachers in a specific clustered area. I’m talking about teachers from all over the world who are my clients – from Canada, from the U.S., from Europe, from Asia, from all over really.
And as these teacher clients of mine have been checking in with me their Coach in recent days, they all seem to be experiencing the same thing, which can be defined with one word – STRESS!
And this isn’t right.
And yes, I know this situation is representative of so many front-line workers – so we could easily generalize to other worker situations – but I want to talk about the teachers because to my mind, they have always been underpaid and under-appreciated.
Maybe, I am biased because in my formative years, it was certain teachers who changed my life for the better.
Now that kids are back to school, or trying to be; teachers seem to be bearing an unfair burden. They’ve been expected to adapt on the fly, to teach both, in person, and online with barely any instruction on how to do the latter. And they are expected to do both for the same pay they receive for previous in-person teaching.
And keep in mind here I am still not talking about the risk they are taking to their own health.
Just to give you an idea, here is a representative email excerpt I received from a teacher-client this morning.
I’ve been back to work full time as a second grade teacher now for 4 weeks. It ‘was’ going well but as we progress into the year I find myself overwhelmed with the amount of work I’m forced to do on a weekly basis. I feel like I’m drowning in it. I’m putting in 10 hour work days between the computer online teaching and the in-person teaching with the kids. And it’s making me very sad. It’s impacting my daily routine. Somedays I don’t get home till after 7:00 pm and I still have work to do. I try to get to bed by 9:00 and then up at 5:00 every day and it starts all over again. I’m not getting to the gym at all with this schedule because I’m just getting home so late. And then because I can’t get to the gym, I feel guilty about that as well…
This is just one representative email from my clients who are teachers. And I am hearing the same level of stress in all of them.
Now, most of you know me and understand my approach to using ‘client case studies’ as teaching tools. But I do this only when a client’s struggle or success represents a common theme that I witness in the industry.
Well right now, a common theme of my clients who are teachers is that they ALL seem to be bearing an unacceptable level of stress. And that doesn’t and won’t help anyone. It just leads to burnout and resentment.
Some of these teachers are expected to combine in-person teaching with online teaching with very little guidance from their superiors other than “you figure it out.”
And what is even more striking is how they are putting their own needs and interests aside in order to keep up and keep their jobs.
Taking care of others should never come at the expense of having to neglect our own self-care and well-being.
None of this is a sustainable proposition.
And let’s also keep in mind that most of my clients who are teachers also have young children of their own. And these children need their parent’s attention and psychic energy as well. To come home with a psychic energy tank already bordering on empty, and still have work to do, and still be fully mentally and emotionally available for their own children – well, that seems like too much to ask of anyone who has not only spent all day taking care of other people’s children, but has made efforts to impart knowledge in these children as well.
Respect and appreciation – are they enough?
A recent survey of parents is making the rounds all over the internet. A survey by Osmo of about 2,000 parents revealed that 80% of parents have a new and deeper respect for teachers as a result of their own experience with stay-at-home orders earlier this spring and being with their own kids all day long. In fact almost 70% of parents have also stated that being a teacher is harder than their own job!
And these insights were the result of parents being at home with one or two of their own kids, never mind overseeing multiple children at one time, even if classrooms are smaller and more dispersed.
The long and the short of it is that teachers are being expected to do too much, and it’s overwhelming them.
When every single one of my clients who is a teacher is reporting in with deep stress levels, long hours, anxiety, stress, insomnia – something has to give in this scenario.
And over time, as the effects of these stress levels start to show, what will be the consequences in the intended teaching environment?
As I said earlier, I haven’t even touched on the potential health risk that must be there for these teachers to consider as well.
My mandate as a Coach is to 1) do no harm, and 2) look out for the well-being and well-doing of my clients as much as is within my capacity to do.
Are faculties and school boards doing the same for their teachers?
Newfound respect and appreciation for teachers is fine, but it doesn’t change what they are going through right now.
So, the least I can do here is to bring this teacher-turmoil to you and hope you will all show your support in the least and offer any solutions where you can.
Teachers deserve better
That’s my rant!