Earlier this month, the Kentucky Department of Education released results from the 2022 Impact Kentucky Working Conditions Survey, the first working conditions survey given to educators since the pandemic’s onset. The results reveal the extent of the pandemic’s toll on Kentucky teachers.
Among those teachers who participated in the survey, a humbling 40% indicated that they do not feel effective at their job right now. Roughly 1 in 3 said that they were concerned about their own emotional well-being as a result of their work, and more than half indicated that their school’s resources needed improvement.
In short, this data validates the stories that so many educators have taken to social media to share throughout the pandemic. Teachers are overworked and underpaid, and fallout from the COVID-19 is quickly pushing many over the edge. Among other significant findings:
- 75% of participants said they were concerned, to some degree, about the well-being of their colleagues
- 76% indicated that their schools were in need of additional specialists to support students
- Only 37% said that the adults in their school had important conversations about sensitive issues of diversity with regularity
- Over half of all teachers responded unfavorably when asked how much input they have in decision-making at their school
Education Commissioner Jason Glass pointed out that there is work to be done to improve these conditions for Kentucky teachers. “Our educators are not getting what they need,” he told Kentucky Teacher. “Now is the time for innovation and action to save the teaching profession and support them as they support our students and build the future workforce of Kentucky.”
But what that innovation and action will look like is another story. Teachers, what actions can our leaders actually take to make this profession more sustainable?
Garris Stroud is an award-winning educator and writer from Greenville, Kentucky whose advocacy and scholarship have been recognized by USA Today, U.S. News and World Report, Education Post, The Louisville Courier-Journal, and The Lexington Herald-Leader. He served as a Hope Street Group Kentucky State Teacher Fellow from 2017-2019 and became chair of the organization’s editorial board in 2018. Stroud is currently a doctoral student in educational leadership at the University of the Cumberlands, located in the heart of Kentucky’s Appalachian region. Contact him via email at [email protected].