Teaching From Our Research Center

Teachers Are More Stressed Out Than Ever, Even Amid Promising Developments, Survey Shows

By Holly Kurtz — May 14, 2021 3 min read
John Battle High School teacher Jennifer Daniel receives her COVID-19 vaccine in January in Abingdon, Va.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Educator vaccination rates have increased in the past month and so has the share of district leaders who say they’re providing COVID-19 testing. Yet even with these promising developments, educator stress levels are on the rise.

These are just some of the results from the latest EdWeek Research Center’s monthly COVID-19 survey. Administered April 28-30, the nationally representative survey was taken by 1,061 educators, including 449 teachers, 227 school leaders, and 385 district leaders.

Educator vaccination rates jump but lag behind in high-poverty districts

Eighty-percent of teachers, principals, and district leaders have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, up from 65 percent just one month earlier. An additional 2 percent are either partially vaccinated or report that they have made a vaccine appointment. The remaining 16 percent have neither received a vaccination or made an appointment to get one. Teachers are slightly less likely to have been fully vaccinated (78 percent), compared with principals (87 percent) and district leaders (80 percent).

Educators working in the nation’s highest-poverty districts where three-quarters or more of the students qualify for free or reduced-priced meals are significantly less likely to be fully vaccinated (76 percent) compared with those working in lower-poverty districts with free or reduced-price meal rates of 25 percent or less (90 percent).

Educators in districts that remain 100 percent remote report higher rates of full vaccination (94 percent) than those in districts where instruction is in person (76 percent) or hybrid (83 percent).

In addition, rural educators’ vaccination rates (76 percent) lag behind rates reported by suburban educators (88 percent), and their urban peers (86 percent).

COVID-19 testing is increasing, especially in the Western part of the country

Just under half of school and district leaders (48 percent) say they are currently conducting COVID-19 tests for students and/or school employees.

The last time the EdWeek Research Center asked about COVID-19 testing was in February. Back then, we only asked district leaders—not principals—about testing. Thirty-two percent told us they were testing, compared with 44 percent of district leaders on this most recent survey.

Since that time, the $129 billion in American Rescue Plan funding has made more money available for COVID-19 testing (and other pandemic-related needs).

Among those school and district leaders who say they are currently conducting COVID-19 tests, most (55 percent) are testing students and employees. Thirty-seven percent are just testing employees. The remainder are only testing students.

School and district leaders in the Western part of the United States are significantly more likely to say they’re providing tests. Sixty-six percent are testing, compared with 29 percent in the Northeast, and 41 percent in the Southern and Midwestern United States.

Testing is also reported more frequently by administrators in districts where less than half the students are white (53 percent) than by their peers from districts where half or more students are white (38 percent). This may be due to the fact that COVID has hit communities of color particularly hard.

More teachers say work is more stressful now than a year ago

One year ago, most school buildings were closed and remote instruction was still a relatively new approach for most teachers. Back then, 81 percent of teachers said instruction was more stressful than it had been before the pandemic, an EdWeek Research Center survey found.

On this most recent survey, an even larger share of teachers (92 percent) said teaching is more stressful now than prior to the pandemic. And most also say it has only grown more challenging over the course of the pandemic: 78 percent of teachers say teaching is a lot or somewhat more stressful today than it was a year ago.

Teachers in the Midwest are significantly less likely to say teaching has grown a lot more stressful in the past year (34 percent), compared with their peers from the Northeast (40 percent); the South (49 percent); and the West (50 percent). This may be because many Midwestern schools conducted most of their instruction in person this school year while schools in states in other regions—such as California—were still largely using remote or hybrid instruction.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Opinion Wanted: Students to Write About This School Year
Classroom Q&A is inviting teachers to have their students write about their school experiences for publication here.
1 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Teaching If Outdoor Learning Is Safer During COVID, Why Aren't More Schools Doing It?
Teachers and advocates tout the benefits of outdoor learning, but there are barriers for some schools, including the risk of gun violence.
9 min read
Angie Ninde leads her class through a math lesson outside at Centreville Elementary School in Virginia on Sept. 7, 2021.
Angie Ninde leads her class through a math lesson outside at Centreville Elementary School in Virginia Sept. 7. The risk of COVID-19 transmission is lower outdoors, so some schools are trying to take classes into the fresh air as much as possible.
Jaclyn Borowski/Education Week
Teaching Opinion Integrating SEL & Tech Into This New School Year
Technology opens up programs that allow students to drive their learning, while social-emotional learning influences lessons and teaching.
7 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Teaching In Their Own Words 'Chaos in the Adult World': A New York Principal Tells Her Story of Being a Teacher on 9/11
Janet Huger-Johnson was a 5th grade teacher in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. Here's her story.
5 min read
Principal Janet Huger-Johnson at East New York Elementary School of Excellence in Brooklyn, New York on Sept. 8. 2021.
Principal Janet Huger-Johnson at East New York Elementary School of Excellence in the Brooklyn borough of New York.
Jackie Molloy for Education Week