Will We, Though?

A note before you read this post… I have been finding comfort lately in reading about teachers’ realities and talking with educators who are experiencing and feeling the same things as I am. This post is simply meant to validate feelings. I am not looking for pity, I am just speaking my truth in hopes that it might help even just one other person. It took me weeks to get this post together because I lacked the energy to write in the first place, and it was also extremely hard to process these emotions in order to turn them into something somewhat comprehensible. It’s far from perfect, but I am pressing publish.

Teachers are struggling.

I’ve noticed that we keep saying things like, “we will come out of this stronger.”

Maybe it’s a way of staying positive. Maybe it’s a way of reminding ourselves that nothing is forever, and that this, too, shall pass. Maybe it’s a mantra that if we repeat often enough, will come true. Maybe it’s a way of providing ourselves hope when everything seems so dark. Maybe it’s the carrot we’re searching for, or the light we are trying to see at the end of the tunnel.

The problem?

We don’t know how long the tunnel is.

And I don’t know how much longer we can keep this up.

This is a loaded word.

And if I am being completely honest, I am not sure we are going to make it. Some will certainly fall. Some won’t come out of it, never mind stronger. The sheer weight that educators have been carrying since March isn’t easing up. In fact, it is doing quite the opposite. Every day, every change, every new expectation, every press conference, every new announcement, every word that is taken back, every time we’re told we’re putting students first and doing what’s best for them leaves us wondering what about us!?

…it all takes its toll.

We’ve been saying it over and over and over again. It was true back in March, and it’s even truer today.

This is not sustainable.

And if we’re not careful, it’s going to crush us.

The Manitoba Teacher’s Society (MTS) polled their members and shared that “nine in 10 Manitoba teachers were reporting high levels of stress this school year” and James Bedford, president of the MTS, said “teachers have reached a breaking point.” In an earlier survey by the Canadian Teaches’ Federation, Manitoba teachers reported that “stress, anxiety, and depression; workload; and mental and emotional exhaustion are their top three mental health concerns, as they manage the challenges of teaching amid COVID-19. Eighty-six per cent of Manitoba respondents reported being concerned about the ability to maintain their own health.”

I worry.

I worry that as we continue to put on a brave face and “do what we have to do,” we are sending the message that it’s okay to expect these things of us. Teachers are givers, we have huge hearts, and we care so much about those we serve that we will go above and beyond to make sure that they are getting what they deserve… even if it breaks us.

Even if it breaks us.

And then what?

Teachers burning out and leaving the profession. Teachers trying to rebuild themselves in order to be able to serve others once again. Teachers dealing with new anxieties and traumas because their plates have been broken into a million and one pieces from being too full, for too long.

A reminder that comparison doesn’t do anyone any good. Hard is hard. Period.
Photo credit: @TheMentalHealthAwarnessLife

Students deserve our best… is it humanly possible for us to be giving them our best when we are stretched so thin?

I am terrified.

The weight of the stress is unbearable some days.

“We will come out of this stronger!”

Will we, though?


  1. Danielle Cloward

    November 11, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    You have succinctly put what my heart feels and my head keeps telling me, but society & admin don’t want to hear. Even as I type this, my instinct is to curl up into a ball under the covers and cry myself to sleep. I don’t want to go to bed because I know I will have another day of who-knows-what when I awaken.

    1. Annick Rauch

      November 11, 2020 at 8:23 pm

      Danielle, I feel your pain. It is a crippling fear… one that almost prevented me from publishing this post. But we need to speak our truth. Have those hard conversations. Advocate for ourselves. We are no good to anyone if we run ourselves dry. Sending love and courage your way!

  2. Heather

    November 11, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    Thank you for voicing what so many are feeling. I think I will come out of this appreciate for the hugs, close conversations, laughs, and experiences that we have missed so much lately. #iLOVEmyJOB

    1. Annick Rauch

      November 11, 2020 at 8:41 pm

      Yes!! So true! I also love my job… and if it wasn’t for those sweet students, I would’ve lit a long time ago.

  3. Christina Watts

    November 11, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    After 16 years as a public school educator, I’m finding NOW more than ever a desperation to lean in and on God. Perhaps this text will help those looking to take off the weight we were never graced to carry. Praying for teachers everywhere. ❤️❤️❤️

    1. Annick Rauch

      November 11, 2020 at 9:05 pm

      Thank you for the recommendation, Christina! I will have to check it out!

  4. Sissie Lola

    November 12, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    WoW! I totally agree with this endless tunnel of darkness. With the exception of seeing, hearing, and deeply caring for my students, I would walk away. Regardless of educational (graduate & post graduate) background, consistent professional training, significant increase with job expectation, and years of teaching experience, the stress of ridicule, distrust, disrespect, lack of Admin. & parent support, has a breaking point. Concerned about coping with all these challenges with no relief in sight, it hurts just to breathe. I am hoping and praying that my colleagues and I make it over this horrendous turmoil.

    1. Annick Rauch

      November 12, 2020 at 7:44 pm

      I do, too. I really do.

  5. Joy Kirr

    November 14, 2020 at 8:00 am

    Annick, THIS, I believe, is part see-saw/teeter-totter/yo-yo. The way educators and students and parents have been stretched may, indeed, break some of us in various ways. Thank you for writing this. My next post will focus solely on what I, personally, am doing so that I, personally, do not break (further). I’ll be sure to link back to your post at the start of my own, so others know from where many of us are coming. I appreciate you for spending some of your time documenting.

    1. Annick Rauch

      November 14, 2020 at 8:17 am

      That is also my plan, Joy! Sharing what has worked, and how I can find joy even in the hard and unhappy times.

  6. Lisa

    November 14, 2020 at 8:04 am

    Thank you for writing this. I have found it helpful to speak my truth. To not be my usual smiling, bubbly self with staff because that is not the experience all of these pressures create. The reactions I’ve received though? “are you okay?” “You are not yourself”. Duh. Of course I’m not myself. We are in a pandemic with changed assignments trying to meet high needs, oh, and one of my student’s mom’s just died out of the blue on top of it all. What has helped me is not feeling shame for not pretending any longer that I’m a perfect, happy, go lucky teacher when the situation is different and that persona n o longer fits the mould. That is truly where the most of my anger has stemmed from to be honest. Is fellow colleagues and bosses expecting me to be peppy still. Excuse me? To be perfect. “Your reports aren’t done a week in advance?” Oh man! We are in a pandemic. Thank you for speaking the actual truth about what is going on and having the self-respect to be hones to begin with.

    1. Annick Rauch

      November 14, 2020 at 8:19 am

      Yes, Lisa! It’s hard, and pretending we have it all together all the time doesn’t do us any good. Acknowledging the struggle is important. Sending love and strength your way!

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