NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A survey of the fall semester from some 7,000 teachers shows more hours worked and more stress due to the pandemic.
The Tennessee Education Association (TEA) conducted the survey at the end of the semester. Their findings show 84-percent of teachers are experiencing a more difficult work environment and increased stress than before the pandemic.
Teachers also reported working an average of 13 hours per week extra during the 18 weeks of the first semester.
Mike Stein, a teacher at Coffee County High School, said the situation is bad.
"It's been a rough start to the school year," said Stein. He added that changes arising from COVID-19 have made life challenging on teachers and students.
"It's stressful to the teachers, the students, the principal. It's causing teachers to get sick and die and the whole initiative just isn't working," he said.
Teachers report wanting the state to be more involved.
"Every district is treated as a separate entity and they have specific needs to their district, and that is true, considering the situation right now, we're in a pandemic," said Laura Schlesinger, a Rutherford County School teacher. "There are times where I think we do need some overall direction and guidance for all and it would certainly aid in consistency across the state."
Beth Brown, president of TEA, said she believes the state could offer more support for teachers by simply increasing teacher pay. However, that's a task that's proven difficult for the state in the past.
In 2020, teachers were supposed to receive an across the board raise. That didn't happen after cuts were made due to COVID-19.
"What we're hearing from teachers across the state is whether they were doing in-person instruction, hybrid instruction or remote instruction, their workload was tremendous, beyond anything that they had experienced," said Brown.
She hopes the state general assembly will make room for the money in the upcoming budget.