Giving Compass’ Take:
• A recently published report surveying Louisiana educators reveals that a substantial amount had relevant signs of depression before re-opening schools.
• The author points out that despite this report focusing on Louisiana, it mirrors concerns across the United States. Experts are pushing to have critical conversations about the state of educator mental health before schools re-open. How is your school district making these decisions? How can donors best support educators right now?
• Read about the mental health risks during COVID-19.
In Jefferson and Rapides parishes in Louisiana, more than half of early ed teachers who were recently surveyed are making less money than before the coronavirus pandemic. More than 40 percent are experiencing food insecurity. Eighty-five percent of teachers are worried that children will come to school sick and more than half are worried that they will have to go to work while sick. And nearly 1 in 5 have spent their own money on supplies like face masks and cleaning supplies. All this stress is taking a toll on teachers: Nearly 40 percent of those who responded reported clinically relevant signs of depression.
These findings, which were published in a new report by EdPolicyWorks at the University of Virginia and the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, are focused on Louisiana but echo concerns from across the country. As child care centers have reopened nationwide, the educators are facing stress from strict new state health and safety regulations, ongoing Covid-19 outbreaks and financial concerns about the viability of the businesses where they work. Yet many early childhood educators have no choice but to return to their jobs. “I could probably die if I go back to work,” one Louisiana teacher said in response to the early ed survey. “But I have to.”
Experts say that’s why it’s critical that the conversation to reopen schools consider teacher mental health and acknowledge what they will face when they enter the classroom. “It’s urgent now that we are not only tracking the trauma load of teachers, but also recognizing they are going to be experiencing a great deal of vicarious trauma,” said Michelle Kinder, a licensed professional counselor who recently co-authored a book about how to lower chronic stress for teachers.
Read the full article about the mental health of teachers by Jackie Mader at The Hechinger Report.
If you are looking for more articles and resources for K-12 Education, take a look at these Giving Compass selections related to impact giving and K-12 Education.
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