Editorial: Feeling burnt out? You are not alone!

With finals fast-approaching, many students are likely feeling anxious about exams. Everywhere you turn, it seems that someone is discussing grades, scores or transcripts. Winter break has never seemed simultaneously so close yet so far.
However, what many students may not appreciate is the pressure that teachers also experience this time of year. Teachers are required to administer final exams, as well as other tests and assignments that sum up current units. (And, of course, grade them.)
In addition, many teachers are bombarded with a huge amount of overdue or makeup assignments to grade, with emails flooding into their inboxes from concerned counselors, parents and students.
At the Board of Education meeting on November 8, students were able to see firsthand the impact that the past 21 months or so have had on teachers.
This year and last year have been filled with mandates, restrictions, and more changes to school structure and schedules than ever before.
Even this year, when we had all hoped to return to a semblance of normalcy, teachers were hit with a mandate to administer Schoology finals halfway through the semester.
Considering this, it is important to keep in mind the mental health and well-being of everyone in the East community in these stressful final days of the semester.
Certainly, students have the right to be stressed. It is also important that you advocate for yourself if you have concerns about a grade or need help studying. However, teachers are human, too. At the recent Board of Education meeting, teachers from across the district described experiencing burnout at work.
This burnout is something that many students hardly notice. So long as teachers are handing out assignments, giving lectures, and plugging grades into HAC, it is easy to assume that everything behind the scenes is going smoothly, as well.
Yet, this is clearly not the case, as evidenced by the Board of Education meeting. Teachers, especially at the high school level, have had to rewrite lesson plans for much of this semester after the addition of final exams.
Many have also had to miss out on collaborative time with other teachers.
All of this has led teachers to do way more work than is traditionally expected, without any additional recognition or reward.
As students, complaining about a teacher taking too long to grade a test is easy to do. This is a valid concern, and something which brings a lot of stress to students.
However, blaming teachers for things completely outside of their control, like finals, is only worsening teacher burnout.
At the Board meeting, teachers also cited feeling underappreciated, undervalued, and treated as less than the professionals they are.
While much of this may come from the general direction of the administration, students should also be mindful about how they can give their teachers grace this time of year. Educators have been at the forefront of COVID-19 discussions for nearly the entire length of the pandemic.
Even though the school schedule feels normal now, that does not mean that the pandemic has ceased to strain the teacher experience.
Finishing a “normal” semester for the first time since 2019 (yes, finals included) and heading off to Winter Break stress-free is an experience every student should be excited for.
However, in all of the rush to finish out this semester strong, make sure to think twice before placing too much unnecessary blame or pressure on the teachers in your life.