By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s 2021 “teacher of the year” warned Casper school district officials this week that teachers faced with the continuing burden of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic are burning out.
Alexis Barney, an Evansville Elementary School teacher, told Natrona County School Board trustees that the COVID pandemic has had lasting effects on her and her fellow educators.
“This year alone, I have seen more students receiving emotional support than I have ever seen in my teaching career,” Barney said.
But if the students are struggling, Barney questioned what this meant for the educators charged with leading them.
She said that teachers have been struggling with learning new systems while at the same time being asked to help students meet high academic expectations. This is not only a problem in Natrona County, but across the entire state of Wyoming, Barney noted.
“Even superheroes need help,” she said.
She told school officials that systemic changes were needed in order to recruit and retain staff, both within Natrona County and statewide.
“We need focused efforts in maintaining our educators, because many are sadly thinking of leaving the profession entirely,” Barney said. “Please recognize that these heroes in our classrooms are human, too.
Cowboy State Daily previously reported that school officials in Cody and Powell are seeing similar issues with teachers struggling to cope with pandemic-related challenges.
Substitutes have been in short order across the state as wel. Ten Sleep’s school recently had to go to remote learning due to a lack of teachers who were well enough to educate in person.