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Early County Schools mitigating teacher and staff burnout

Right now, ringing endorsements for the early learning collaboratives are set in 18 districts...
Right now, ringing endorsements for the early learning collaboratives are set in 18 districts around the state, including George County.(WLOX)
Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 7:03 PM EDT
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BLAKELY, Ga. (WTVY) -Seeing a guidance counselor working as a school nurse, assistant principals as substitute teachers, and the school superintendent working the front desk of the high school is a common sight in Early County Schools.

“In a larger system, there might just be eight people devoted to one little area, but there are only 8 people in our whole entire office,” says Dr. Bronwyn Ragan-Martin, Early County School System Superintendent. “So we all have to pitch in and do a lot of different jobs, so we wear lots of different hats.”

It may sound bizarre, but it’s a reality for Early County Schools and other rural school systems every day.

“We are struggling as most school systems are with finding subs,” says Dr. Ragan-Martin. “We have teachers out for various reasons. It may be for quarantine. It may be for sickness. It may be just for regular reasons.”

Early County Elementary School says they have two consistent substitutes, but they need about five every day. With teachers spread thin, this has led to burnout.

“It’s just harder,” says Dr. Ragan-Martin. The stress of dealing with kids being out. They may have a sickness or quarantine in their own family that they might have to see about. We’ve had kids and teachers to lose family members. It’s just emotionally draining for everybody.”

As a way to attract more people to the position, the county has offered a pay increase from $55 a day to $65 and created the position of a floating substitute.

“It’s somebody who would come in every day not knowing exactly where they are going to be that day,” says Dr. Ragan-Martin. “As there is a need, that person would be shifted to whatever the classroom is that has a need.”

Dr. Ragan-Martin says their goal is to keep the focus on educating their students any way they can.

Copyright 2021 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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