The burnout rate for teachers in Indiana is increasing, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. But this doesn’t deter Haylee Stukey from pursuing teaching.

By Ashlye Schwaller | Contributor

“We see all over social media how teachers are leaving from getting burnt out,” said Haylee Stukey, a Huntington University senior majoring in elementary and special education.

“It’s important to have a reason to keep going, no matter what job you choose,” she said.

In 2022, educators are reporting to have the highest level of burnout among all other industries, according to U.S.News. Huntington University’s. teacher education program prepares students to later graduate and teach students of their own.

In 2021, there were 42 students in the education department at Huntington University. In Indiana, there were 10,530. Of those, 3,218 students graduated through an education department . At HU, 42 students graduated with an education degree.

The average rate of Huntington University education students who stay in education is higher than the average in the state.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers and students were forced to adjust to changes.

New technologies, programs, and ways to learn were introduced into education.

The Indiana State Teachers Association(ISTA) advocates for and stands next to teachers.

“For more than a century, Hoosier educators have banded together to collectively advocate for themselves and their students, said Kim Johnson, the director of strategic communications and professional development at ISTA. “ISTA is the voice of public education in Indiana.”

She mentioned that teacher shortages have been decades in the making.

“It’s certainly been exacerbated by the pandemic. It’s time for policymakers to enact long-term strategies to recruit and retain educators – including providing competitive pay, ensuring they have safe and healthy working conditions, and their professional voice and expertise is respected,” said Johnson.

Though current teachers may feel this way, students going into the profession feel otherwise.

“Coming out of college I’ll get paid more than what I’m used to,” said Stukey. “Money isn’t everything. If you’re not fulfilled in what you’re doing, then it’s not worth it.”

poll from the National Education Association this year expressed that 55% of 3 million education members were ready to leave their professions.

Though HU has more students sticking with education than the state, Stukey mentioned that students continue to prepare for these challenges in their future career.

“We are being prepared well. And the rest, we will figure out by ourselves,” said Stukey.

Though job shortages come up across the grid, teachers take a stand. Red for Ed is a movement across the nation for teachers to stand together and express their needs as educators. In Indiana, ISTA organized these events at the Statehouse in Indianapolis.

Johnson said, “Hoosier educators demonstrated their collective power when they marched en masse in the fall of 2019. The result was a sweeping increase in public education funding.”

The COVID-19 pandemic was shortly after the march, and educators are still seeing its impact.

IMPACT, INSPIRE, CREATE: Loew-Brenn Hall shows inspiring artwork around many education classrooms. (Photo by Ashlye Schwaller)

The Red for Ed movement is alive and well,” said Johnson. “We will continue to advocate for our schools to be fully funded, for educators to be paid as professionals and for all students – no matter their ZIP code – to have the resources they need to be successful.”

Yet, for Stukey, passion is what keeps her going. Her dream of becoming a teacher started in her own imaginary classroom at age three.

“There doesn’t have to be a bad stigma around teaching,” she said. “It’s important to have a ‘why’ that’s strong enough to get you through the rough patches. If there’s a love for children and a want to teach them to impact the world, then, I don’t think there’s a better career than teaching.”

Johnson gives advice to students pursing education careers.

“Keep going. The profession needs your commitment, your passion, and your desire to impact the lives of young people. Find a mentor.”