80% of Missouri teachers say COVID-19 negatively impacted their work

Education

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– National Teacher Appreciation week is about to kick off, but a study shows one in ten teachers in Missouri wants to quit.

Around 8,000 Missouri teachers participated in a survey by the College of Education at Missouri State University. More than 80% say the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted their ability to do their jobs.

“When I got a phone call and was told ‘Hey, well we’re going to need you, with the number of students who have selected virtual option, we’re going to need you to do virtual,'” said Kelsey Valis, a third-grade teacher for Jeffries Elementary School.

Valis says she faced her biggest challenges as a teacher last year.

Coping with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to be with my students in person, because one of my favorite things about being a teacher is building relationships with the students,” said Valis. “I just felt it would be a lot more challenging to do that virtually versus in the in-person setting.”

Teachers weren’t the only ones facing challenges. Many parents and students faced technical difficulties.

“I don’t think that we knew the volume of students that we were going to be having, and so when everybody was figuring out on those first few days of school, I know they’re calling the help desk, calling the help desk, getting really frustrated with the technology,” said Valis. “As the year’s gone on, it has gotten easier. Just because it’s our routine now. It’s our normal.”

However, not all teachers feel the same as 62% of the 777 teachers who are leaving the profession say COVID-19 was the reason. 80% of all teachers say they were more stressed in 2020 than in 2019.

Many teachers say they felt mistreated and unappreciated.

“I can definitely understand like just coping with all the change, all the challenges, students are coping with the same things,” said Valis. “It’s definitely been really difficult.”

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