Over the past two years, the expectations placed on teachers have grown exponentially. As students face the instability and trauma of life in a pandemic, educators have become even more critical in supporting and facilitating students’ mental health and social-emotional development, as well as their academic success. In spite of the odds, the education workforce has gone above and beyond to support students. But leading students through uncertain times has caused unprecedented levels of isolation, stress, and burnout. Research shows that one in four K-12 teachers considered leaving their job at the end of the last school year. So, as the pandemic continues into 2022, there's an urgent need to better support teachers. It's critical to help teachers navigate these challenges not by putting more on their plates, but by bolstering structures designed to assist them. Adult care and supports are essential to any COVID recovery plan, both to survive the current moment and to set a path for building a more equitable and effective system moving forward.
Our 2022 Condition of Education Action Guide, Investing in Educators: How Massachusetts Can Support Teachers Through the Pandemic and Beyond, looks at how our education system can put in place immediate supports to help address the urgent needs of educators, establish ongoing supports to ensure teachers play a role in their professional learning and growth, and build a pipeline to better diversify and prepare the teaching force of tomorrow.
The report features local districts and organizations doing promising work to support educators. This includes Revere’s Colleague to Colleague program, a teacher consultant initiative that provides educators with the space and expertise to tackle immediate and longer-term needs; Great Schools Partnership, which helps schools and districts prepare to be responsive to students whose diversity is increasing at a far greater rate than the adults supporting them; and the Lawrence Working Families Initiative, where parents and community members are trained and supported to become school paraprofessionals and/or classroom teachers.