There may be a teacher shortage, but there’s no shortage of stress when you’re a teacher.
In fact, a recent national survey of more than 30,000 teachers released earlier this year found most felt extremely overworked.
While most Colorado teachers taking part in the biennial TELL survey described a positive and improving work environment, their feelings about the amount of work they must do painted a different picture — especially when it comes to state tests. And first-year teachers overwhelmingly said their workloads are taxing.
Last weekend, the state’s teachers union, the Colorado Education Association, held a workshop in Denver for teachers who wanted to beat back the stress. It was the third time this year such a seminar was offered. The first two seminars, held in the summer, were among the most well-attended teacher events in recent history, officials said.
We used the opportunity to ask teachers what was stressing them out and how they overcome it. Click on the orange buttons below to hear what they told us.
Sophie Schwedland, Eiber Elementary School, Lakewood
Teacher veteran Schwedland said she feels like she can never do enough to improve the lives of her students, most of whom are poor and Latino. One pro-tip she offered: Listen to “Let it Go” from the blockbuster animated movie “Frozen” on particularly tough days.
Raquel Carreon, Sherman Early Childhood Center, Fort Morgan
Carreon is a first-year kindergarten teacher. She was shocked by the amount of testing and recording of student information required of her. She also described the anxiety that can accompany a formal evaluation.
Kaila Lief, STRIVE Prep Ruby Hill, Denver
As a first-year teacher, Lief said she feels extraordinary pressure to prove herself. That’s why for the first three months of this school year she didn’t leave her campus until 7 p.m. — at the earliest. One strategy that helps her get through the day: notes of encouragement passed among her team.
David Romig, Jeffco Public Schools
Romig is a school counselor who works in several different schools in Jefferson County. He said the required paperwork has become so demanding, he feels he has no time to devote to individual students — or his family.
Cathy Royce, Cañon City Schools
Rocye, a retired special education teacher, is now a substitute for Cañon City schools. A recurring stress for Royce is understanding multiple school cultures and sets of rules. Students must understand that the substitute knows the rules.