Home Education K-12 Education & Schools Sooke Teachers Association president outlines SD62 teacher burnout

Sooke Teachers Association president outlines SD62 teacher burnout

teacher, burnout, paperwork
Teacher burnout.

Tuesday May 23, 2023 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated July 7, 2023]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Teachers in the Sooke School District (SD62) are experiencing burnout, says Sooke Teachers Association (STA) President Jennifer Anderson.

Anderson made that statement as part of her report to the SD62 board trustees and senior staff at the May 23, 2023 SD62 board meeting.

jennifer anderson, sta, president, sd62
Sooke Teachers Association (STA) President Jennifer Anderson. [LinkedIn]

Various comments from teachers were mentioned as within the definition of burnout:

  • dread going to work
  • feel tired upon waking up
  • bored with their job
  • lower performance
  • feel emotionally drained
  • avoid conversations
  • easily frustrated
  • no motivation to update teaching materials
  • no energy for self or family on the weekends
  • classroom becomes disorganized
  • leave marking to the last minute
  • not participating in non-obligatory activities at school

“Does that sound like the kind of teacher you want?” Anderson asked the board. Parents may well be asking the same question.

There were no questions or comments from trustees or staff at the board meeting.

Anderson asked that the board “do something real to help teachers because they need it”.

budget 2024, district of sooke

Factors influencing teacher load:

Factors likely impacting the load on teachers include full classrooms in a fast-growing school district, financial distress across the board (families of teachers and students) in times of inflationary pressure, administrative requirements, and dealing with challenges in classroom management.

Teachers, like everyone else, are coming out the other side of the having dealt with the impacts of the COVID pandemic for over two years in a stressful interpersonal environment.

What is burnout?

Burnout is generally defined as a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.

The Mayo Clinic describes job burnout as “a special type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity”.

Comments from STA President:

“While the list of burnout symptoms we provided at the school board meeting was not a compilation of teacher comments, the STA has taken a high volume of calls from its members this year to discuss health concerns, which often includes symptoms of burnout,” said Sooke Teachers Association Jennifer Anderson in a statement to Island Social Trends.

sta, teachers, grads, 2023, sd62

The STA offers several supports to members facing burnout, including:

  • Professional development opportunities at our locally developed conferences such as Lisa Baylis’ Self- Compassion for Teachers and Richard van Camp’s Reclaiming Family Medicines as Self-Care for teachers
  • Medicine bundles for our Indigenous teachers
  • An approved professional development book list that includes several books on trauma and burnout
  • Support for teachers through their medical leaves and to access programs such as the BC Teachers’ Federation’s Health & Wellness Program

What supports does STA expect of (or already receive) from SD62 to help with burnout? “SD62 has a stated goal of creating a culture of wellness through a holistic approach,” says Anderson.

“The STA would like to see real actions taken to meet this goal. This would including hiring enough teachers to adequately staff our schools, instead of relying on existing staff to fill the gaps,” says the STA president.

“Increasingly, the school district is failing to fill staff absences and instead, teachers are expected to shoulder the added burden and are working double or triple duty in one day,” says Anderson. “The STA would also like to see senior teachers given the opportunity to move schools through the post-and-fill process in spring staffing, which the employer had previously agreed to allow.” 


School district response:

Island Social Trends will followup with a response from the SD62 administration.

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mary p brooke
Mary P Brooke, Editor, Island Social Trends

Island Social Trends is professional regional journalism presented at islandsocialtrends.ca. Fully online as a daily news portal since mid-2020, Island Social Trends emerged from the path of previous print publications in the west shore: MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and West Shore Voice News (2014-2020).

Since 2008, journalist and editor Mary P Brooke has taken a socioeconomic lens to reporting and analyzing the news of the west shore and south Vancouver Island region, including BC and national news impacts. [See Island Social Trends Politics Archive]. She has covered the details of local, provincial and federal elections since 2008. As of 2023 Mary P Brooke reports with the BC Legislative Press Gallery.

Mary P Brooke has also focused on news of School District 62 (schools in Langford, Colwood and Sooke) at the board and committee level since 2014 [see Island Social Trends Education archive]; she ran as a school trustee candidate in SD62 in 2022 as a way to offer her insights and knowledge to the community grounded in over 10 years of observing SD62 up close.

May Brooke covers West Shore Parks & Recreation news (particularly the transitional years 2014-2020, and again starting 2023). During 2020 and 2021 she reported daily on BC’s COVID pandemic news to build the ongoing COVID pandemic archive. Since 2021 she has been building a Food Security news archive. Mary Brooke has covered the 2023 Langford-Juan de Fuca by-election.

Watch for the renewed print edition of Island Social Trends (formerly West Shore Voice News) starting summer 2023. Advertisers welcome – inquiries. | How to be a Premium Subscriber