'I Didn't Know It Had a Name': Secondary Traumatic Stress and Educators

Not too long ago, many educators who complained of burnout were were probably greeted with a collective shrug from school leaders. Teacher exhaustion or stress have often been dismissed as signs of weakness and an inability to cope. With schools and districts providing little in the way of support, the burden was always on educators to deal with whatever was dragging them down.

Although this scenario still plays out in too many schools, districts are becoming more aware and sympathetic to the pressures teachers face in school every day and the adverse impact it has on the profession and students. This acknowledgement leads to – hopefully, eventually  – strategies and programs designed to support educators.

Experts caution, however, that policymakers resist a once-size-fits-all approach. Yes, educators are burned out, they are stressed, they are fatigued, they are demoralized,  and many are now coping with trauma—all conditions with similar symptoms that require proper diagnosis to treat effectively. The trauma could be their own  – or their students’.