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Teachers experience more work, stress with changing education models

Posted at 11:24 AM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 13:24:12-04

BOISE — A teacher's job has never been easy, but with education models switching every few weeks, it's complicated the job even more.

"It's probably the strangest year to join the profession ever," said instructional coach Scoot Clark.

First-year teachers still have all the common concerns over entering the career and managing classrooms, but this year, there's an added stress layer.

"We know if a student isn't engaged, learning isn't happening, so making sure those lessons are as best performed as they can on a virtual platform is what teachers are trying to do right now," said Idaho Education Association President Layne McInelly.

Teachers in districts across the state struggle to manage that workload and effectively teach kids in person, online, and during the quarantine.

"There's the genuine desire to do what's good for the students, but there's also the obstacle of time there as well because there are only so many hours in the day," said Clark.

It's a sentiment expressed by many teachers. Idaho Education Association took a survey last week to gauge how educators are handling their workload. One teacher shared, "I am working from 6 am to past midnight every day, seven days a week. I take no lunch. I spend less than 30 minutes eating dinner. This is unsustainable."

Another teacher said they've taught for 20 years, but the workload this year is tremendous, and they're considering leaving the profession.

First-year and experienced teachers struggle to manage this workload, and they've been each other's most significant resources during this fall.

"I think there's some comfort for the first year teachers that in a lot of ways it kind of like the first year for everyone because we are doing things in such a different way that we're all learning together," said Clark.

Clark works in the Twin Falls School District, and starting in October, Mondays will be catch up days. Students will be virtual on Mondays, hoping that teachers can provide better online lesson plans and comprehensive instruction.