Nearly one-third of teachers in Minnesota consider quitting due to overwhelming workload

Overall, 29% of respondents said that they were “thinking about quitting or retiring,” with upwards of 70% saying they were feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

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A study released by Education Minnesota, Minnesota’s teachers union, says that nearly one-third of the state’s educators are considering quitting their jobs due to stress and an overwhelming workload.

The study, which was conducted from Sept. 25 to Oct. 5, had 9,723 respondents, about one-sixth of the educators in the state, according to recent numbers. Overall, 29% of respondents said that they were “thinking about quitting or retiring,” with upwards of 70% saying they were feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

“Educators are saying they’re stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated and worried about their mental health,” Education Minnesota President Denise Specht said in a press release.

“Nearly 30% say they’re thinking about quitting or retiring. There’s already a teacher shortage in Minnesota. Our public schools won’t function if thousands of educators burn out and leave. It’s time to adjust,” she added. 

Seventy-nine percent of overall respondents reported feeling stressed, and 73% said they felt overwhelmed. Those numbers were higher for teachers utilizing a hybrid learning model, with 81% feeling stressed and 75% feeling overwhelmed. In-person educators had lower rates for both, with 74% feeling stressed and 67% feeling overwhelmed.

In addition to teachers feeling stressed and overwhelmed, 13% of respondents reported feeling angry with their work. Another 51% said they are worried about their mental health. 

Meanwhile, only 12% of teachers overall said they are happy about their work as educators. That number was 10% for teachers using distance learning, 19% for in-person teachers, and 11% for teachers using a hybrid model. 

Retirement benefit applications were up 35% in August and September from the previous year, according to the Teachers Retirement Association of Minnesota. 

“The goal remains to safely reopen school buildings and resume in-person learning, but this pandemic has taught everyone to be flexible,” said Specht. 

“This isn’t the time for finger pointing, but it is time to adapt. Districts need to remove all unnecessary tasks from educators’ plates, open negotiations on building-specific issues and generally abandon plans that ask a single teacher to manage half a class online and a half in-person at the same time,” she continued. “That arrangement may have seemed like a good idea in August, but it’s not working in October and it may drive out hundreds of teachers by May.”