Covid Burnout in the Classroom


Many students are feeling the effects of burnout more than ever

Students start their day with six hours of school, followed up with hours more of homework. Then they move on to whatever extracurricular activities they have, plus the overall stress of living through a global pandemic, and hardly seeing their friends. With all this stress, more students than ever are feeling burnt out. 

Burnout is when a person is stressed or frustrated for an extended period of time without a break. Burnout feels like complete and total exhaustion.  One symptom of burnout is not getting a feeling of accomplishment when completing a task.  It can make a person feel unmotivated and tired. For example, it can make the affected student want to sleep in all day rather than log into class. 

For many of us this year, levels of stress and anxiety have skyrocketed.  Not only are we living through a global pandemic, but also trying to keep up with school in the middle of it.  We had to become responsible for our own schoolwork, both homework and classwork. 

Not only are we taking on more responsibility than ever, but we have also been confined to our homes for long periods of time.  Not seeing one’s friends for that long can take a mental toll. The reasons for doing so many things that were a habit before are now gone.  Why take off your pajamas when no one sees you all day? Why get out of bed when class is on the computer?  The combination of these extraordinary circumstances and the stress of school has led to a massive amount of burnout among students.

I still feel the increasing struggle for motivation to do my schoolwork.”

— Maggie Payne

For a lot of students, the extra challenge of learning at home has caused some grades to slip.  This can be hard because not only does it create new pressure the students might put on themselves, but also adds to the pressure to succeed put on students by parents and teachers. These adults in their own way might be adding to students’ burnout.  

Many parents and teachers are still holding kids to the same standards they did before the pandemic, which isn’t very fair to the student.  Not only is a global pandemic adding stress to their lives, but also learning from home and never seeing friends are both things that may cause a student’s grades to not be what they once were. Parents and teachers should try to be understanding that it is completely normal for a person’s grades to slip during a time like this. 

Many NAI students feel very burnt out.  Sophomore Avery Hoffman says that she “feels more mentally exhausted than I do physically.” Sophomore Maggie Payne is “not completely burnt out, but I still feel the increasing struggle for motivation to do my schoolwork.” 

Students could be greatly helped if adults, like parents or teachers, would listen to suggestions we have about reducing our stress levels.  Sophomore Remy Litz says that adults could “try to understand what we’re dealing with, and parents could stop pestering us about our grades.”  Litz also recommended that teachers “give us free periods to catch up on work, like once a week or so.” This could be helpful to students because, despite the incredible amount of outside stress we are experiencing at this time, our workload has remained more or less the same as it was before the pandemic.  Including a catch-up/work day in weekly schedules has the potential to make a huge difference in stress levels for students. Having a day that students could get caught up on work would help students stay on top of their assignments. 

Sophomore Maya Sivakumar says that teachers could “be more considerate with how they’re spacing out work.” This could be beneficial because not having as much work at a time could help students reduce stress, as well as increase the quality of the work they are doing. 

Many students also cite doing school from home as a major source of stress.  All of a sudden, we have to take control of our classwork along with our homework.  The amount of responsibility we now have is much greater than before.  We are now responsible for completing our classwork on time, which can lead to students not retaining information as well as we could if we were with teachers all the time like we were before the pandemic. 

Burnout is a very serious problem with everyone during this pandemic, however, students have had it especially rough this past year. Rather than push us harder or hold us to the same standards as before, adults should try to be more understanding of our situation and do whatever they can to help us get through this extraordinary time.