Educators Face Pressures
However, there is a fair amount of burnout in these fields. In one survey of 30,000 teachers, 89% reported having felt enthusiastic at the beginning of their careers, while only 15% said they felt the same way at the time of the survey. In 2015, the American Federation of Teachers reported that 78% of teachers felt emotionally and physically exhausted at the end of the day.
In academia, professors face pressures to have multiple publications under their belt, on top of teaching, grading, and other responsibilities, depending on the field. According to sociologist Maria Do Mar Pereira, the proliferation of the internet and other digital technologies has increased these pressures.
“Moreover,” she says, “in many countries academic workloads have increased, and the current ‘normal’ workload is so heavy that academics can only complete all their teaching, research and administration duties by working beyond the contracted number of working hours.”
One professor wrote for The Guardian, “During term time, I was spending the whole working week either teaching or preparing to teach, with no time for research. I found myself lying awake at night worrying about our finances. Worrying about whether I was a good teacher.” Many teachers are underpaid, and 94% report spending their own money on essential school supplies.
Stress and Addiction
It’s well-known that chronic stress increases the likelihood of using substances. In the case of educators, they go to their jobs five days a week—and in many instances work more than that—so that stress can have a significant impact.
That said, many educators find their work meaningful. Feeling connected to a larger purpose and finding meaning in life are really important parts of recovery. For teachers or professors who have addiction, their jobs may be a source of stress—but they might also be a source of strength that motivates them to recover.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you build long-term recovery. To learn more, call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.