Majority of U.S. teachers not in ‘right mindset’ in classroom

November 3, 2017

Nearly two-thirds (61%) of U.S. educators find work either always or often stressful—which is twice the level felt by workers in other sectors—according to survey results from the American Federation of Teachers and the Badass Teachers Association.

The data is part of the  2017 Educator Quality of Work Life Survey, which polled nearly 5,000 teachers and school staff members nationwide.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents noted that their mental health was “not good” for seven or more of the past 30 days—reflecting a large increase from the 34% of respondents who said their mental health was “not good” in 2015.

In addition, more than half agreed that they have less enthusiasm now than at the beginning of their careers.

The survey cited various causes for the increased stress among teachers— including having little influence over policy decisions and professional development, working long hours, experiencing teacher shortages, and feeling a lack of respect from federal and elected officials and the media.

Specifically, the survey cited the disrespect that public school teachers believed was directed their way by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

In addition, teachers reported being bullied, harassed or threatened on the job at higher rates than other professionals; and reported sleeping less than the recommended average per night, which may contribute to worse health outcomes.

These high rates of teacher stress and health have been linked to higher turnover and increased absenteeism among teachers, as well as lower achievement for students and increased costs for school districts.

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