The pandemic and teacher shortage have left deep scars in schools. Teachers feel overburdened, students find it harder to concentrate, according to a survey. And it could get worse.

After two years of the pandemic, almost all teachers in the country are on the verge of exhaustion, according to a survey. Almost nine out of ten teachers feel heavily or very heavily stressed.

Most extend their work to the weekends, many also to the night hours and still see gaping gaps in the learning and curriculum. This is shown by data from a representative Forsa survey commissioned by the Robert Bosch Foundation (Stuttgart), which was published on Thursday.

About every second teacher is physically or mentally exhausted

According to the German School Barometer, around 92 percent of those surveyed experience their colleagues under heavy or very heavy stress, and 84 percent say this about themselves. More than three out of four teachers (79 percent) usually also work on weekends, for most of them it is hardly possible to relax in their free time (60 percent). According to the survey, about every second teacher feels physically (62 percent) or mentally exhausted (46 percent).

“Teachers are under enormous pressure,” said Dagmar Wolf from the Robert Bosch Foundation. They would not only have to catch up on digitization at record speed, monitor corona guidelines and work through learning deficits. It is also important to cushion the shortage of skilled workers and to integrate an increasing number of refugee Ukrainian children and young people into schools. For 44 percent of those surveyed, a large part of the lessons currently consists of crisis management, which applies above all to secondary schools, junior high schools, comprehensive schools and elementary schools.

According to the survey, however, three out of four teachers surveyed are still satisfied with their job (74 percent). “You become a teacher out of conviction,” said Wolf. “But chronic overload makes you ill and dissatisfied in the long run. Schools therefore urgently need additional staff,” she warned.

Concentration problems in students

The traces of the corona burden are not only evident in the colleges. According to the survey, almost all teachers (95 percent) have observed increasing behavioral problems among the students since the beginning of the pandemic. Many have growing problems concentrating or motivating themselves. According to the survey, aggressiveness among the students has also increased significantly. However, according to the survey, consultation hours by school psychologists are only offered in a third of the Hauptschule, Realschule and comprehensive schools and in every fourth elementary school.

The mood of the active teachers could exacerbate the already clear shortage of teachers: More than one in ten teachers (13 percent) stated in the survey that they wanted to cut back and reduce their teaching hours in the coming school year, this applies especially to part-time workers. According to the survey, almost a third of those who currently teach 15 to 20 hours plan to reduce the load (27 percent).