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Teachers struggling to manage stress of COVID-19 pandemic

The past year has been especially tough for elementary school teachers. Now, some say the stress of the pandemic is becoming too much to bear.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Teacher Appreciation Week kicks off Monday, May 3, and this past year has been especially hard on our teachers as they've switched back and forth from remote to in-person learning during the pandemic. 

And for many, it's really taking a toll on their mental health. Let's connect the dots. 

A study in Louisiana found rates of depression among elementary school teachers almost doubled last spring. Doctors say depression can be triggered by the high-stress conditions teachers are under right now. 

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The COVID-19 pandemic made everything unpredictable, with teachers switching back and forth between remote and in-person classes. Juggling two types of classrooms meant often having to pivot with little notice. This made planning almost impossible over the past year. 

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Teachers are also having to put in extra effort to connect with their students. They're having to emote more and be especially enthusiastic to keep kids engaged during remote learning periods. That extra energy spent is leaving a lot of them exhausted by the day's end. 

The burden is even greater for teachers who are parents. Many of them have been forced to pull double duty for their own children to keep them on track. 

Now, teacher unions are asking for help. Many groups are pushing for more time off and access to therapy to help fight this prolonged stress. 

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Contact Ben Thompson at bthompson@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.