CCSD leaders making changes to address teacher ‘burnout’

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston County School District teachers say they are feeling burnout and now district leaders are trying to find ways to address concerns and keep them in the classroom. CCSD officials are making changes in hopes of helping to alleviate some of the stress.

A recent survey published by the Charleston Teacher Alliance shows 83% of teachers are more exhausted so far this year than they were last year. CCSD officials say they are looking at ways to improve the culture within schools and make teaching positions more desirable for potential candidates in hopes of boosting retention rates.

Teachers district wide say they are feeling the burn in a school year unlike any other and district officials say it’s noticeable.

“This has been a difficult situation,” says Andrew Pruitt, Public Information Officer for the Charleston County School District.

The survey by Charleston Teacher Alliance also shows 66% of all CCSD teachers have considered retiring early or quitting all together, 83% say they are more exhausted than last year. District officials are looking for ways to ease the stress and address the concerns.

“Retention is important,” says Pruitt. “We have to make sure that the culture inside every one of our schools is a culture that teachers want to be a part of, they want to stay in.”

CCSD Superintendent Dr. Gerrita Postlewait says teachers don’t have enough time for their work and they’re having trouble trying to catch students up left behind by COVID-19. All of this, while dealing with fewer but more severe behavioral issues when it comes to students in the classroom.

“When students do have some issues that they are struggling with as it relates to their behavior, it’s a little more drastic,” says Pruitt. “So that impacts teachers, there’s no doubt about it.”

District officials say they are hearing the concerns and are working to make changes. The Board of Education is taking action to approve additional e-learning days at the start of next semester while also looking at what student assessments are needed and which ones can be dropped to lighten the workload.

“Having those three additional e-learning days and allowing teachers to get ahead of their work and the things that they plan on doing to address student’s academic needs,” says Pruitt.

CCSD says they’re working to improve the culture to keep the teachers in the district especially because it’s a problem they say goes deeper than Charleston County.

“The number of teacher candidates, the number of those going to college to become teachers, to become educators – that pool is much more shallow than it has been in the past,” says Pruitt.

The district is facing a shortage in current and future teachers on the back end of COVID-19 but officials are hopeful open communication from all sides will reverse the trend.

“It’s a two-fold thing, we want to make sure we’re focusing on the culture of what exists at this point but then we have to find a way as a collective society that the teaching profession is still valued,” says Pruitt.

District officials say the teacher shortage they’re currently experiencing district-wide sits at 44 vacancies out of roughly 3500 positions. Officials say it’s average for this time of the school year within the Charleston County School District.

A link to the survey published by the Charleston Teacher Alliance can be found here.

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