Who is Advocating for Educators? I am.
As a motivational education keynote speaker, it alarms me that the emotional health of educators is often overlooked given the tremendously high stress they face. Educators know from recent surveys such as the American College Health Association that college students are experiencing high levels of anxiety; about 66 percent across the board. Campus counseling, in-person or online has climbed to more than 40 percent. High school students between 13 – 17 currently have a level of depression exceeding seventy-five percent.
What about the educators?
Teachers, in general, are currently more than twice as likely to experience depression as the rest of the adult population. In fact, less than a year ago, in an Education Week article, it was stated:
“78 percent of teachers said they experience frequent job-related stress…and 1 in 5 said they were not coping well with that stress. Half of teachers reported feeling burned out, and 27 percent said they experience symptoms of depression.”
The pandemic was much more than a virus, it was a life-changer for many educators. The profession that had (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) about a modest 8 percent turnover, rose to double-digits and in some surveys a 25 percent figure has been seen as likely.
Teachers love to teach. It “tears apart” many educators that they are compelled to walk-away from a profession that was always more than a job. In fact, about 40 percent of teachers who stay in the profession say they like caring for young people.
Why are teachers leaving? The usual reasons such as “Low Pay” or “burn-out” are givens, but the motivators for teachers to stay run much deeper. Teachers want greater control and nurturing. In an Education Week article from May 4, 2021, education writer Liana Loewus wrote:
“Some districts are giving teachers more flexibility in how and where they do their jobs, including offering continued options for virtual teaching and meetings. Others are looking to improve their mentorship programs for new teachers. And some schools are making teachers’ mental health a priority by creating support groups and reducing barriers to getting insurance-covered counseling services… while many teachers feel underappreciated and worn out, there are some concrete steps administrators can take to increase the odds they’ll stay—but it all starts with listening.”
Time to Advocate, Time to Listen
As an educational keynote speaker, who understands the commitment and compassion that educators bring into our lives, the time is long past due to bring a new vision to the teaching community.
The vision must be one of demanding greater nurturing and support; listening and sharing; a commitment to one another and a determination to help one another succeed. Education must be as much about mutual advocacy as teaching.
How should this vision of advocacy be realized? Encouragement and empowerment must start with the individual. It is a belief each educator must develop within themselves, then to extend that sense of purpose to associates in school systems and to the public. It is tragic when I hear of an educator who decides to leave the profession for a lack to feeling appreciated and supported. It is doubly tragic to students deprived of your experience.
The way to stem this tide of turnover and a lack of appreciation is for educators to stand up, reach out and join together in greater advocacy. It is my privilege to help.
Scott Burrows, Motivational Education Speaker. For more information, please contact Scott today or through this website or for more immediate attention at: 520 – 548 – 1169.