Helping our Teachers Cope with Increased Demands and Stress Levels

Events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Ian likely increased most of our region’s stress levels. Globally1, according to the World Health Organization, anxiety and depression have increased 25% since pre-pandemic levels.

Of all professions, educators at all levels (of whom there are more than 9,000 in Lee County, according to U.S. Census data) are uniquely positioned to be particularly susceptible to the frontline challenges these crises bring.

Prior to the pandemic, teachers were already struggling with burnout, poor performance, and historically high turnover rates, states2 this research study from Penn State University. In 2016, when the article was published, 46% of teachers reported high daily stress.

By 2020, in the depths of the pandemic, over half of the teachers reported considering leaving the profession, more than one quarter reported symptoms of depression, and more than 35% reported symptoms of general anxiety3, this report from the CDC foundation discovered.

Similarly, this Chronicle of Higher Education research summary highlights the increased stress and decreased enjoyment reported by professors. Please click here4, Covid&FacultyCareerPaths_Fidelity_ResearchBrief_v3 (1).pdf (, to learn more.

In this article, a survey of more than 1,100 professors at two- and four-year colleges found that a deteriorating work-life balance and additional concerns for safety and well-being – both for themselves and their students – contributed to stress.

Naturally, these increased demands and the resulting turnover rate of educators have a profound impact on the education system and students.

A5 University of Massachusetts Global article states: “When turnover contributes to teacher shortages, schools may also resort to increasing class sizes or cutting some of their offerings, which can have adverse effects on student learning.”

John W. Krupp, a veteran educator who has taught in nearby Collier County Public Schools, recently published a blog titled6 “Coping With Stress as a Teacher” for KDP, an organization that provides resources to teachers.

In it, Dr. Krupp advises new teachers to engage with a like-minded fellow educator or group. “Find those external supports and surround yourself with them… Doing so will help you overcome the stress of the profession and realize that we have the best job in the world. We can change the world. That can only happen if you stay in the classroom!”

The Go Guardian team prepared an important article in 2020 which provided guidance on “How to Handle stress as a Teacher7. The article provided details on ten tips on how to alleviate stress.

Assess your stress level

Schedule time to respond to your stress

Establish realistic goals

Focus on what you can control

Contact colleagues for advice

Participate in stress-relieving activities

Prioritize your health, family time and quality sleep


Do something different

Determine your response

screen time

If you have a child or grandchild of school or university age, you can also play a critical role in helping teachers combat the burnout and stress of the changing educational landscape.

Here are a few tips from Guidepost Montessori8:

  • Help teach your child age-appropriate ways of being independent, such as small children putting on their own shoes or older children knowing how to request a missing material politely.
  • Practice focus and concentration – particularly important in the age of increased “screen time.”
  • Communicate with teachers so they can best help your child or grandchild succeed.


a nationwide survey of 1,122 professors at colleges and universities conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Additional articles of interest from the ECCL: