Special Report: Taking Care of Teachers

Being a teacher has never been easy. But the onset of the global pandemic has put extraordinary new pressures on the profession, and taken a massive toll on many teachers’ mental health and well-being. Abrupt school closures this spring left teachers with upended routines, disrupted learning plans, and a host of new worries about now-distant students. The pivot to remote learning was rife with logistical and emotional challenges, and many teachers say they lost any sense of work-life balance. At the same time, a national reckoning on race, sparked by the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black men and women, put teachers of color at the center of difficult and often-draining conversations about racial justice.

With a new school year on the horizon—and coronavirus infections still raging—teachers say they’re more anxious and exhausted than ever. This report looks at the many ways stressors related to COVID-19 and racial inequities have affected the teacher workforce, strategies for self-care, and how school leaders and districts can help protect their teachers’ social and emotional well-being through the continued uncertainty.

Special Report


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Coverage of social and emotional learning is supported in part by a grant from the NoVo Foundation, at www.novofoundation.org. Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.

Many teachers say they’ve been getting messages 24/7 during school closures, and that they feel pressure to be “always on” for students and parents.
July 22, 2020 – Education Week

Even in the most normal of school years, teachers’ work-life balance can be tenuous. Many say it’s gotten worse since remote teaching began.
July 22, 2020 – Education Week

It’s tiring to be asked to lead conversations about race and racism, teachers of color say. But at the same time, many feel a sense of responsibility to take charge of this work.
July 22, 2020 – Education Week

A mindfulness-based intervention for teachers is one of the only such programs with a scientific foundation, showing positive effects not just on teachers’ states of mind, but on their interactions with students in the classroom.
July 22, 2020 – Education Week

Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, spoke with Education Week about how teachers can take care of themselves and manage their stress during this uncertain time.
July 22, 2020 – Education Week

For many teachers facing the imminent return to school, the customary combination of nerves and excitement has been replaced by mortal terror, writes Justin Minkel.
July 22, 2020 – Education Week

Since the pandemic began, teachers have been shouldering the immense weight of students’ increased social and emotional needs. School and district leaders should look after their well-being, too.
July 22, 2020 – Education Week

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