Some teachers are ‘completely overwhelmed’ by helicopter parents, suffering ‘burnout’: Essay

Some teachers in the U.S. are experiencing “burnout” due to “teacher shortages,” “classroom overcrowding” and parent over-involvement in their children’s affairs, according to a recent essay. 

“Expectations about how much teachers communicate with parents are changing, burnout is getting worse, and I’m worried about what this might mean for the profession,” essayist and Boston public school teacher Sarah Chaves wrote in The Atlantic, citing a poll that “half” of teachers are thinking about “quitting sooner than intended,” with “classroom overcrowding” becoming a growing problem. 

“Though I’m glad the bar for asking questions is lower, I learned quickly not to post grades after I put my baby to bed, because when I did, within minutes, I’d receive emails from parents who wanted to discuss their kid’s grades—no matter how late it was,” the essay continued. 

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Chaves acknowledged that while “[m]ore parent involvement is, on its face, a good thing,” teachers are facing increased pressures, especially from parents who want to know what their children are learning in the classroom.

“Similarly, just under 80 percent of parents said that they became more interested in their kids’ education during the pandemic, a poll by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools found,” she noted. 

The public school educator said that in 2020, dealing with parents hit “a breaking point.” 

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“When my district opted for remote-only schooling in the fall of 2020, some parents complained to me that we were acting against our governor’s advice and caving to ‘woke’ culture,” Chaves claimed. “Tensions with certain parents escalated further after the global racial reckoning sparked by George Floyd’s murder. My students were eager to express their opinions, but as parents listened in on these virtual discussions, some told me that they didn’t think we needed to be talking about these topics at all.”

The writer explained that some “private-school parents are paying $50,000 a year (or more) for their child’s education.”

“Because they’re spending so much,” the writer continued, recounting a conversation with a college-consulting expert, “many tend to focus on the outcomes and want a greater say in elements as varied as whether their child gets extra time on a project and how a field trip is run.”

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