Dear Admin, Teachers Are Working Around the Clock and It Cannot Go Unnoticed


Dear Admin, Teachers Are Working Around the Clock and It Cannot Go Unnoticed

Dear Administrators,

I appreciate having a job – I really do. Many of my friends, family and neighbors haven’t received a paycheck in weeks and have no idea when they’ll be able to work again. More than half the parents of my students are without work. I know I’m fortunate…and I’m also exhausted. We’re living in a highly traumatic crisis and teachers are expected to cheerfully handle an even heavier workload. I’m going to be honest: I’m drowning over here and I know many of my teacher colleagues feel the same.

We’re making a hundred (or more!) calls a week. 

We’re expected to make contact with each of our students by phone every week. For middle and high school teachers, that’s easily over a hundred kids. And, of course, it takes multiple calls to get in touch with almost every one of them – if we ever get through at all. The calls alone are a full-time job for some of us. 

There are more staff meetings now. 

Why are there 8 a.m. Zoom staff meetings almost every day of the week? We didn’t meet nearly this much when school was in session. Getting up early (after working very late the night before) to make ourselves and our homes camera-ready is stressful. The meetings usually aren’t even necessary. I appreciate you trying to boost morale and build community, but we’ve all been working together for a long time. We don’t need to do video conference ice breakers. 

The emails are overwhelming. 

There are so many emails. They don’t stop. I can check before bed and wake up with dozens of new emails. We’ve been emailed links to more resources, articles, and tips than we could ever implement. Instructions, updates, and requests for progress reports are sent multiple times a day. And then way too many people hit “reply” all, filling my inbox even more.

Observations are still happening – even unannounced. 

Observations are stressful under normal conditions. Why are they still happening in this unchartered territory? Various administrators are popping in and out of my online class sessions almost every day. Not only is it nervewracking for me, but it’s also a distraction. My students start typing away in the chat as soon as they see a principal or vice-principal enter the session. 

There’s pressure to “use this time to learn.” 

The emails include links to professional development opportunities, online classes, and webinars. Listen, there’s a global crisis going on. Teachers aren’t on vacation. We’re not home with tons of free time just doing nothing. We’re working from waking up until going to bed – all while dealing with everything that goes with our personal lives being turned upside down right along with our professional lives. 

Trying to figure out technology takes up too much of our time. 

It’s not just our own internet, microphones, webcams, and programs we have to figure out. Our students and their parents are calling us for tech support all day and evening. There is nothing quick and easy about any of this. There’s a big learning curve and it often doesn’t work as expected. Do you need help navigating all these new tech tools? Check out this extensive list of Zoom and remote teaching hacks!

We’re still expected to write new IEPS and report on progress. 

How can we write new IEPS when the children aren’t in our class to observe? Normal services and accommodations aren’t available. How can we possibly accurately report on progress when nothing is normal about the current situation? We want our students to be successful, but it’s difficult to accurately access their needs right now.

We’re worried about our students. 

Notice nothing about actually teaching our students is on this list. We love and miss our students. We are dedicated to supporting them through this tough time. And we’re very exhausted with worry about how they’re doing. Do they have enough food? Who will care for them if a parent gets sick? Are they scared? The snippets we get (if we get any) are not enough to really assess how they’re doing in the way we’re used to when they’re physically in our classrooms. 

Our own kids are at home. 

We’re teaching, making calls, creating video content, grading work, attending meetings, reading and responding to emails, and writing reports all with our own kids at home. My kids need help with their school work, too. They also need tech support, to be fed and to be comforted during a scary time. And we’re all trying to use the already weak wifi and taking turns on the “good” laptop. 

Our mental health isn’t the best right now. 

Many of us just aren’t okay. We’re tired, stressed and overwhelmed. We’re doing our best to be there for our students and their families, while also figuring out how to deal with our own lives in this pandemic. We can’t keep carrying all of this weight without it seriously impacting our wellbeing.

I get that you still have a school to run and you’ve never done that with all of your staff and students quarantined at home for months. You have a lot of plates spinning and everyone looking at you for answers. But there’s got to be a better way. So many teachers were burned out and thinking of leaving the field before COVID-19. We need administrators to see us waving our white toilet paper flags and ease our workload. Perhaps we can use one of those 8 a.m. meetings to brainstorm as a team. Otherwise, there might still be quite a few empty desks when school reopens – the ones who belonged to teachers who decided not to return. 

Sincerely,

A Quarantined Teacher

Also Read:

A Letter to Administrators from a Stressed Out Quarantined Teacher

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Rachael Moshman
Rachael Moshman, M.Ed. is a mom, educator, writer, and advocate for self-confidence. She’s been a teacher in classrooms of infants through adult college students. She loves pizza, Netflix and yoga.
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