WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — After a year of teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers are burnt out. Now, school districts across Connecticut are facing a potential summer school teacher shortage.
Waterbury’s Bryan Baker has been a physics teacher for 17 years. But, he says this past school year has been unlike any other because of the pandemic.
“We’re all just burnt out,” he said. “More so than usual.”
The adjustments teachers had to make — teaching part of their classes in person while simultaneously teaching another part virtually and making sure everyone was following COVID-safe guidelines became too much for many teachers — and not just in Waterbury.
“They need to decompress and just recharge after how stressful a year it’s been,” Baker said.
“I’m hearing that from teachers all over the state throughout Connecticut,” said Kevin Egan, President of the Waterbury Teachers Association. “I do know there was a concerted effort by the district to try and recruit teachers to teach summer.”
News 8 tried to get information about the situation statewide. Waterbury Public Schools responded to our inquiry:
“We currently have 43 elementary school teachers, 41 middle school teachers, 19 high school teachers, nine STEM Camp teachers/one coordinator, and seven school counselors who will be involved with Summer School. Our Human Capital Department has made tremendous strides in hiring and recruitment the last few weeks and only need seven more middle school teachers.”
The district also told News 8 they’ve hired grad students from Central Connecticut State University and Eastern Connecticut State University in teacher prep programs the opportunity to teach in summer school. So far, they’ve gotten 11 from both institutions combined.
“Teaching is a tough profession and our teachers really went through amazing lengths to teach this year,” Egan said. “So, it’s not shocking that we’re trying to recruit teachers into the field.”
“I think it’s always great to try and bring up the next generation of teachers,” he added.