Skip to main content

Survey: Minnesota teachers are stressed, overwhelmed this year

Only 8% of teachers said they're feeling inspired by their work as an educator.

Educators are stressed and overwhelmed by teaching this year, with nearly one-third of teachers saying they're considering leaving the profession.

That's according to a new survey of members of Education Minnesota, the state's teachers union. More than 9,700 teachers and educators in the state completed the online survey between Sept. 23 and Oct. 5.

“Educators are saying they’re stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated and worried about their mental health,” Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota, said in a news release. “Nearly 30% say they’re thinking about quitting or retiring."

"There’s already a teacher shortage in Minnesota," Specht added. "Our public schools won’t function if thousands of educators burn out and leave. It’s time to adjust.”

According to Education Minnesota, citing Teachers Retirement Association of Minnesota data, applications for retirement benefits increased by 35% in August and September of this year compared to the same time last year. 

The majority of teachers who were surveyed say they're feeling stressed, overwhelmed and frustrated about their work as an educator, regardless of if they're teaching in-person, online or a combination of the two. And few teachers are reporting feeling inspired and happy about their work this school year. 

The percent of teachers in each learning mode and how they're feeling about it.

The percent of teachers in each learning mode and how they're feeling about it.

Education Minnesota says many factors influence a teacher's job satisfaction, but the COVID-19 pandemic has been a "driving force" behind educator anxiety, noting many teachers are having to write lessons for subjects and grades they have never taught before.

The majority of educators who responded to the survey are working in the hybrid model (5,564 people), doing both in-person and distance learning (not at the same time). Meanwhile, 1,911 teachers doing in-person learning, 1,810 distance-learning teachers, and 402 multimodal learning teachers filled out the survey. 

Multimodal learning teachers – where they're simultaneously providing lessons to students online while teaching in-person to students in their classroom – reported the highest concern for their current workload, with 59% saying their workload is "very much a concern" for them. 

This has Specht asking districts to "generally abandon plans that ask a single teacher to manage half a class online and a half in-person at the same time."

"That arrangement may have seemed like a good idea in August, but it’s not working in October and it may drive out hundreds of teachers by May," she said. 

Meanwhile, 52% of teachers doing hybrid learning reported they're workload is "very much a concern." Forty-one percent of distance learning and 37% of in-person learning teachers said the same.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Overall, teachers doing in-person learning are still feeling stressed and frustrated, but less so than teachers doing the other forms of learning methods. That being said, in-person teachers say they feel less physically safe than teachers who are distance learning. 

“The goal remains to safely reopen school buildings and resume in-person learning, but this pandemic has taught everyone to be flexible,” Specht said. “This isn’t the time for finger-pointing, but it is time to adapt."

Specht said in addition to abandoning the multimodal learning model, districts "need to remove all unnecessary tasks from educators’ plates" and "open negotiations on building-specific issues."

The latest forecast from Sven Sundgaard

Next Up


Hero dad who stopped carjacker who fled with his kids identified

A GoFundMe has been set up to support Derek Gotchie and his family following the incident.

Screen Shot 2022-12-03 at 4.35.18 PM

Watch: New London-Spicer wins 3A championship on incredible walk-off TD

New London-Spicer defeated the unbeaten Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in remarkable circumstances.


Suspect in woman's killing in Moorhead is arrested

James Kollie Jr. was arrested Friday evening.

Jennifer Carnahan

Former chair Jennifer Carnahan sues Minnesota GOP, which is suing her back

Carnahan stepped down under a cloud of controversy in August 2021.

Minneapolis Fire Department

One injured after leaping from burning vacant building in Minneapolis

Authorities say the building is known to be used by squatters.


Head-on crash leaves two drivers dead in southeastern Minnesota

The crash happened in Houston County just before 4 p.m. Friday.


Charges: Armed man made death threats at Minneapolis LGBTQ bar

The man allegedly used derogatory terms while threatening to kill someone.


FDA pulls last COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment as new variants rise

A therapy used to treat more than 11,000 Minnesotans is no longer authorized amid a surge in the latest COVID-19 variants.

Austin Robert LeClaire

Charges: Plymouth man shot girlfriend in head after birthday party

The 23-year-old victim is in critical condition as of Friday.


State announces $2.5M in grants for child care providers

Child care providers in roughly a dozen communities will receive funds to help grow the supply of affordable, quality child care.


Probe of Golden Valley police uncovers racism, alleged misconduct

One officer was terminated for alleged racist comments and violations of state law.

blowing snow

Blowing snow Friday in Minnesota; will it snow next week?

Winds could gust up to 50 mph Friday afternoon and night.


teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

MN teacher's union: Follow new COVID-19 guidelines to keep schools open

"It’s time for every Minnesotan to mask up, keep their distance and avoid crowds.”

teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

Teachers union calls for 'bold' plan to get kids vaccinated against COVID

"All options should be on the table," Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota, said.

minnetonka high school

Union says teachers being left out of reopening discussions by some MN school districts

Teachers in Minnetonka are among those calling for changes to the district's reopening plan.

_Natalia Benjamin_teacher of the year

Rochester English learner teacher is Minnesota's Teacher of the Year

"Many of my students are navigating new cultures and places. I hope that I can be a small part of their journey in succeeding as they follow their dreams," she wrote.

teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

All elementary schools can move to in-person learning under new Walz order

Schools can switch to in-person learning on Jan. 18 regardless of county COVID-19 rates, so long as they implement all required mitigation measures.

teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

Minneapolis teachers union questions return to in-person instruction

Elementary students are set to return to the classroom in February – nearly a year after they shifted to distance learning.


Schools cutting teacher jobs as debate over funding increase continues

The Minnesota Legislature is working out differences in the school funding bill in a conference committee.

teacher, school

Survey of 20,500 MN educators finds distance learning is fall preference

More safety measures would make educators feel more comfortable with in-person instruction.