Current Events Monday: Supporting Stressed Educators

James Hassell   -  

Educators handle an immensely vital and important responsibility—that of helping our children to develop critical thinking skills. We can think of few vocations that have a greater impact on our society and culture at large. I consequently grieved hearing the news that Austin ISD teachers face considerable obstacles for accomplishing their work. The stress has become too much for some. For instance, 138 teachers left the district in the last three months. The stress triggers for teachers today include low pay, overcrowded classrooms, lack of substitutes, student misbehavior, the increase of hypersexual and violent behavior stemming from so much computer time, and lack of parent involvement to name a few.

Please see a fuller write up on this story by clicking on this link: Austin ISD teachers say they’re facing more stress, burnout this school year | KEYE (

So, how can the church help? Keep in mind that we approach this issue from a Christian perspective and offer no simple, magic formulas. We do however offer some strategic ideas based on biblical engagement.

Strategy One: Be aware that complexity sometimes increases the chances for nothing of significance to happen. In other words, educators today may be hampered by so many dilemmas that it seems like one’s only alternative is to throw up the hands and withdraw. Our churches should pray that educators and school administrators can view complex problems through lenses which offer more optimistic and perhaps simpler, pragmatic options for accomplishing goals. It has been said that simplicity attracts wisdom. What then could help teachers become freer and clearer to teach basic subjects to our children with the least amount of distractions?

Strategy Two: Keep in mind that money will not fix all the problems. Money is the root of all evil, and Jesus clearly taught that money can quickly become a forceful idol. Throwing money at teachers looks like putting a band-aid on a wound that needs stitches. Greater compensation for teachers appears in order at the risk of lowering costs or even cutting programs and budgets that may have moved into the realm of idolatry. Churches must pray that teachers will be well compensated, and that mammon will become more of a servant than a god.

Strategy Three: Technological idealism may hamper long-term goals. The introduction of greater and faster technology may be, at times, more trouble than it is worth. What would allow children to grow socially? Also, technology can hinder children who learn in different ways than a majority of other students. For instance, more kinetic learners may grasp little from time spent in front of a computer screen, but putting pencil to paper creates the proper mental connections for optimal learning. Let’s pray for teachers to have the significant time needed to assess the learning styles and abilities of each individual child.

Strategy Four:  We need God in the home. We cannot overstate here the necessity of a consistently developing, Christ-centered life within a student’s family. It is no wonder that many educators are so stressed when, in addition to teaching information, they have to deal with children who come out of highly dysfunctional family environments. The church has a responsibility to step in at this point and offer both parents and teachers biblically-based tools for child rearing. The up-and-coming generation must know that there is a God who deeply loves them and wants reconciliation with them.