Episode 4: What Do A Boat And A Puzzle Have To Do With Teacher Burnout During COVID-19?

22 Feb 2021

Dr. Laura Sokal and Dr. Lesley Eblie Trudel are part of a team of UWinnipeg researchers that have been studying stress and resilience in teachers since the early days of the covid-19 pandemic. By conducting a survey of over 2000 teachers from across Canada, the researchers are now able to gain a better understanding of the demands, resources, and stressors experienced by teachers. What they are finding is when it comes to resources and demands, not all teachers are in the same boat. And when it comes to experiencing burnout, some teachers fit a certain pattern, while others fit an entirely different puzzle altogether.

On this episode the research question is, “What do a Boat and a Puzzle have to do with Teacher Burnout during COVID-19?”

TEACHER 1: Well, I would say that I have really supportive administration and very amazing staff. I feel kind of like a family and that we all work together.

TEACHER 2: I almost felt more connected to the other teachers in the division I had prior to this because we had mass meetings.

TEACHER 3: We’ve been told that our work hours with students are still nine to four. So I’m finding that structure is all right for me.

TEACHER 4: But I’m also finding it hard to shut myself off at four o’clock.

TEACHER 5: The main thing that I’m feeling right now is kind of, like, forgotten.

TEACHER 6: I think that there’s a feeling of despair, of defeat, a creeping cynicism.

TEACHER 7: We’re tired, we’re stressed, we have families too!

TEACHER 8: There has been an incredible increase in the amount of work asked of classroom teachers during the pandemic, and very little emphasis on the toll it is taking on teachers.

TEACHER 9: We gave more than we had to give at all times, but I really feel as though we, as the people who are doing this work, were forgotten.

KENT DAVIES: These are the comments of teachers who participated in a national survey. They were asked to give their feedback on how they are coping with stress, changes in the workplace, and what resources are effective in getting them through the day.

Since March, educators in Manitoba and across Canada have been trying to cope with the added pressure and uncertainty of teaching during the Covid-19 pandemic. A lot has been demanded of teachers over the past year. Navigating new health and safety protocols with students, learning new technology and managing remote learning options, all while dealing with the everyday stresses and worries caused by the virus. This has led teachers to exhibit signs of burnout, increased exhaustion, and cynicism towards one’s job.[i]

LAURA SOKAL: So basically the three dimensions are exhaustion– so you’re feeling really tired, you don’t have the energy to meet your job demands. The next one is called depersonalization or cynicism, but really it’s this withdrawal, and in teaching, it’s a withdrawal from the students. In other jobs it’s a withdrawal from the work where you just say, “You know, I can’t even care about this anymore– it’s just too overwhelming.” And then, the third stage, or the third component of burnout is loss of accomplishment or loss of efficacy– so this sense of “I’m not even doing this anymore. I can’t do this job. It’s impossible. The kids aren’t learning: I’m not teaching.”

KENT DAVIES: That’s Dr. Laura Sokal, a long-time professor in the University of Winnipeg’s Faculty of Education. She’s part of a research team examining how K-12 teachers are coping with burnout during the pandemic. What they’re finding, is when it comes to resources and demands, not all teachers are in the same boat. And when it comes to burnout, some teachers fit a certain pattern, while others fit an entirely different puzzle altogether.

On this episode, the research question is: ‘What do a boat and a puzzle have to do with teacher burnout during Covid-19?’ From the University of Winnipeg Oral History Centre, you’re listening to Research Question- amplifying the impact of discovery of researchers of the University of Winnipeg.

LAURA SOKAL: So, this week, tomorrow night, we have focus groups with principals, and then we have our interviews every week with our teachers, then we have…

KENT DAVIES: Dr. Laura Sokal is a busy person these days. She’s part of a UWinnipeg research team that is regularly meeting with teachers, principals, school administrators and trustees, adding to their research, and presenting ways on how to minimize teacher burnout in the classroom.

About a year ago, Sokal was getting ready to work on a different series of educational research projects, projects that would take her around the world, when those plans came to an abrupt halt.

LAURA SOKAL: Well, I had planned research leave for this year, and been granted it. My plan was to travel to five countries and to work with my partners on various projects. And, needless to say, I did not get on a plane, as nobody did. So, I had to ask myself, how can I make myself useful? What do I know? I know how to do research, and I know lots of teachers. So I thought, I can make myself useful by amplifying some voices, by collecting with other people who are in it for the right reason, to try and find a way to support teachers as we move through this challenge.

KENT DAVIES: During the early days of the pandemic, many essential workers including educators were having difficulty navigating the changes to their profession.[ii] Increased workloads, remote conferencing technology, new health and safety protocols, arranging for childcare, and finding a good work-life balance were all leading to increased anxiety amongst workers.[iii]

LAURA SOKAL: We could empathize with the idea that they were in this sudden change. And then, it changed again. And it changed again.

KENT DAVIES: Sokal was interested in finding out how school teachers were coping with these changes, and what resources would help support them through this crisis.[iv]

LAURA SOKAL: And we also knew that when teachers are stressed, they’re less effective. It affects their students both emotionally and academically, so we really wanted to find a way to make sure that the teachers were supported.

KENT DAVIES: Supporting educators and students is something Sokal has been passionate about throughout her career.

LAURA SOKAL: I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher, and I was working with a lot of children with special needs, and at that time, there was no training or education in how to include children who didn’t necessarily fit within this little tiny lens. So, I started doing my pre-Masters at night at the university so I could be a better teacher. And, I just started to really love it! I loved showing up at a class where someone had prepared to talk to me about something that I thought was interesting, and I could learn from my colleagues. And I then just kept going. Then one day when I finished my Masters, one of my mentors, Paul Madak, said to me ‘You should do a Ph.D!’ And I said, ‘I could never do a Ph.D!’ He said, ‘Why’? And I said, ‘Because Paul, when I come into your office and I ask you a question, you turn around and you say chapter 6 in this book, and chapter 10 in that book.’ And I said ‘I don’t feel like I know enough. Every time I get an answer, I have another question.’ He said, ‘How would you like to be paid to find out the answers to those questions?’ I said ‘Sure!’ He said ‘That’s what a professor is, Laura!’ and after that, I just kept going. So I’ve always been interested in psycho-social issues around schooling. I’ve always been interested in how to help people maximize their potential and feel included, and I still get to teach. ‘Cause that’s my favourite part of being a prof, is teaching. I love being with the students– I learn every time I am in the classroom.

KENT DAVIES: Sokal knew a comprehensive collection of qualitative and quantitative data from K-12 teachers would be useful information for educators. However, following ethics approval for the project, she began to think about the possibility of including data sets for administrators as well.

LAURA SOKAL: I started thinking, you know, we could actually look at administrative models, not just psychological models of teacher health.

KENT DAVIES: Sokal asked her colleague, a former administrator and qualitative researcher, Dr. Lesley Eblie Trudel, to join the research team.

LAURA SOKAL: And so I said to Lesley, because we were talking a lot about it as colleagues, why don’t you join this project, and we’ll add another component to it?

LESLEY EBLIE TRUDEL: I have a lot of background and experience in working with classroom teachers and with school principals. When we were embarking on this research, what Laura wanted was someone who could look at the research with the lens of a school administrator, and that was something that I brought to the team.

KENT DAVIES: Trudel has a wealth of experience working in the Manitoba school system from being a former classroom teacher, school principal, and assistant superintendent. She joined the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg in 2019, and has been engaging in qualitative research projects ever since.

LAURA SOKAL: And then we realized, okay, we’re going to have a giant data set, let’s talk to Jeff Babb, so he came on board.

KENT DAVIES: Jeff Babb is an associate professor with the department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Winnipeg. Babb is one of UWinnipeg’s best specialists when it comes to data analysis and multivariant statistics. He has assisted in data analysis in a wide variety of fields including anthropology, biology, chemistry, climatology, and of course, education.

LESLEY EBLIE TRUDEL: I’m a qualitative researcher, so I’m looking after the interviews, and looking at the data that we are collecting from teachers. Jeff on the other hand takes a look at all this information, and he compiles it mathematically and statistically, and determines whether what we’re finding is relevant. So, he can tell us that ‘what’ about the research that we’re doing and I explore more of the ‘why.’  So I’m digging a bit deeper into the reasons behind some of the things that people are saying.

KENT DAVIES: Just weeks into the first lockdown in Manitoba, the newly formed research team got to work on producing their survey.

LAURA SOKAL: So, we used valid and reliable tests where we made sure the Cronbach alpha values were sufficient, and they had been used in different populations, and those kinds of things. We looked at other things, like efficacy– with an efficacy scale that’s a valid and reliable scale. We looked at teachers’ attitudes towards change. We looked at ‘techno-stress’ and attitudes towards technology. And then we created based on a literature review, a list of demands and resources that were supported in past research as being relevant to teachers under stress. And then, we had some open-ended questions. So, the whole thing was almost one hundred questions long.

KENT DAVIES: If the goal was to help teachers during the course of the pandemic, then the next step would be to survey teachers as quickly as possible. This was challenging, as normal avenues of surveying teachers– through organizations or school divisions– would be a lengthier process. Instead, the team relied on friends and colleagues to spread the word.

LAURA SOKAL: Going through school divisions and asking for permission to survey teachers, by the time that would have been approved, we would have been finished the pandemic. So, instead we sent it to everybody we knew who were teachers or professors, and they sent it to everybody that they knew, and that’s how we got 2200 people to respond. It was all word-of-mouth. It was all the kindness of strangers.

KENT DAVIES: The initial online survey launched April 22, 2020, and within a week, they had close to 800 responses from across Canada.[v]

LAURA SOKAL: So that’s an unusual way to gather data, but we realized that we were in unusual times. We can never go back in time and study the pandemic when we’re halfway through it. We want to study it right now, right as it’s starting. People, boots on the ground, figuring it out. And so, we need to get this through ethics fast, and we need to get to the teachers fast. And people said ‘Got it’, and they helped us.

KENT DAVIES: By the end of the initial survey phase, they had over 2000 participants. Thrilled with the initial response, the team soon expanded the project, partnering with teacher organizations and school divisions, collecting an even greater set of data. When analysing the initial data set, the team discovered something surprising that challenged the previous notions of providing teachers with resources.

LAURA SOKAL: When we first started looking at the research, what we found was that we had a lot of teachers who were very, very exhausted, and that’s because even master teachers were trying to find new ways to do things. They were managing technology. They were managing their own stress, and it was a lot. So, when we found these people that were super, super exhausted and we asked them, ‘What’s going to help you?’, they didn’t want resources. So, we were so shocked! Because when– think about it– when you see somebody who is really, really exhausted and overwhelmed, the first thing you want to do is help them. Like, here, try this, try this, try that. But we found that when they were offered a lot of resources at that point, they viewed them as demands.

KENT DAVIES: This unexpected finding was statistically significant throughout the survey results. Teachers who were given multiple new resource such as website links or remote learning platform options often viewed them not as resources but as demands, exacerbating stress which could ultimately lead to burnout.[vi]

LAURA SOKAL: So that seemed kind of counter-intuitive to us, that giving resources to people who were exhausted wasn’t the way to go, until we thought of this little metaphor. And it’s the metaphor of a sinking boat. Imagine that you’re in your boat, and that there’s a hole in your boat, and that the water is coming in, and you’re bailing your boat with your bailer as fast as you can. But, the water is coming in faster and faster, and it’s still going up, even though you’re bailing! So you bail faster, and your arm gets more and more tired. Does it make sense for me to say to you, ‘Oh! Here’s four more bailers! This one’s blue, this one’s green- oh! Look, this one has a nice handle!’ You don’t have time to get to the bailers. You’re bailing as fast as you can. What you need is for me to take away some of the water, or to help you bail.

KENT DAVIES: The survey revealed that the teachers who demonstrated the highest ability of coping with stress levels were initially given reduced demands, and the opportunity to focus on familiar strategies and expectations with students.

LAURA SOKAL: So, what do we need to do? Well, we need to match that with an even higher number of resources, a, or b, we need to decrease the number of demands so that they match the resources that are available to the people. At the end of the day, we have to find that balance, because when the demands exceed the resources, it causes stress. And, stress can lead to burnout and attrition.

KENT DAVIES: Another surprising finding was that some of the quantitative data and qualitative data wasn’t matching up the way the research team expected it to.

LAURA SOKAL: And so when we started to analyze the quantitative, the numbers, we were finding trends that allowed us to make generalizations about teachers. But at the same time in the qualitative data, there were some ideas that weren’t fitting. So, for example, we would look at the quantitative data and see that a lot of teachers were struggling. And we’d do the interviews and hear, yeah, a lot of teachers are struggling. And then we’d here from these teachers who would tell us that they were actually doing fine. So, we thought okay, well, we need to honour those voices too.

KENT DAVIES: Sokal likens analyzing data to trying to solve a puzzle.

LAURA SOKAL: So, we have all these puzzle pieces together and there’d be one part that was kind of fitting together, and then we’d find this piece that we’d look and we’d think ‘This must be a mistake. This piece doesn’t even go with this puzzle. It doesn’t fit at all!’ Until we realized that we didn’t have a puzzle in a box. We had five puzzles in a box.

KENT DAVIES: To get a better picture of how teachers were navigating the pandemic, they used a new statistical procedure called latent profile analysis.

LAURA SOKAL: And what it does is rather than saying things like ‘Oh, are older teachers are doing better than younger teachers’ or ‘Are teachers with more education doing better than teachers with less education?’ or ‘Are teachers who are more comfortable with technology doing better than teachers who are not comfortable with technology?’ What it says is, ‘Let’s look at these three components: Let’s look at exhaustion; let’s look at withdrawal or depersonalization; and let’s look at accomplishment on a scale of 1 to 6 for each of these three things. If we throw everyone into the hopper, are there certain patterns across these three scales that emerge? And they arise out of the data rather than asking the data to tell you something based in a predetermined variable. It was really cool to see the profiles that emerged.

KENT DAVIES: Through this analysis, what emerged was five profiles of teachers, who felt different degrees of success, exhaustion, and lack of productivity on the job.

LAURA SOKAL: The puzzle pieces that were quantitative fit together with the qualitative– with the words, with the interviews, with the ideas that the teachers were sharing with us because you know what? There isn’t a prototype: There are five prototypes of teachers going through a pandemic.

KENT DAVIES: The team listed the profiles in order of those who felt highest levels of accomplishment in the classroom to those who felt the least, starting with the engaged group.

LAURA SOKAL: So, the first one we called ‘engaged,’ and in the research, engaged is the term that is used as the opposite end of burnout. So, we had 11% of our teachers across Canada falling into the engaged group. So, these ones had a little bit of elevation in their exhaustion levels, which makes sense cause they’re in a pandemic, but they were not withdrawing at all and they were feeling high levels of accomplishment. So, in addition, these engaged teachers told us that they made a point of taking care of themselves through physical and through psychological practices like mindfulness. Other things that they did was that they depended a lot on their administrators to help them balance the job resources and the job demands.

ENGAGED TEACHER #1: The support of the administrators, principal, and vice-principal, was what really helped me power through the at-home learning portion of the pandemic.

KENT DAVIES: That’s an actual quote from a teacher who fit within the engaged profile, to get an idea of what different groups of teachers are experiencing, we asked volunteered voice actors to read some of the responses teachers provided in the surveys. Here’s another quote from the engaged group.

ENGAGED TEACHER #2: I think just trying to remain flexible and remain open to new ideas and ways of teaching has been important. The people around me have been the most helpful resources, the people who you know are in the same situation as you.

LAURA SOKAL: So, the second group is the involved group, and this is about 22% of the teachers across Canada and if we compare them to the engaged group– the top group– they’re almost the exact same, except a little more withdrawn. So, these teachers, just like the engaged group, were using a lot of resources. So, again, physical health, sleeping enough, exercise, eating well, and psychological health activities were a priority for these teachers.

INVOLVED TEACHER #1: Well, I would say that I have a really supportive administration and very amazing staff. I feel kind of like a family in that we work together. So, I find that even when things are even extremely stressful or feel that we can’t tackle them that we’re a team, that everyone seems to work together and find the solution. So, that was what went well.

LAURA SOKAL: They’re depending on their colleagues, again, using administration. So, when we put those together, what we’re seeing here is we’re seeing people use co-regulation– the teachers are working with administrators to try and balance job demands and job resources so that they’ll be successful, but we’re also seeing self-regulation– when they go home, they’re making sure they’re eating properly, they’re sleeping. So, both of these things are happening at once for these two top-performing categories of teachers.

KENT DAVIES: The over-extended profile group accounted for 40% of the respondents, the largest group of teachers represented.

LAURA SOKAL: So, then we get into the largest group, and we call this group over-extended. I like to think of these ones as kind of at the tipping point. If they continue to experience high levels of exhaustion, then chances are they might move into one of the two lower performing groups. So, with these ones, they had the second highest exhaustion, they were beginning to withdraw, but they still had really high accomplishment.

OVER-EXTENDED TEACHER #1: Scheduling emails for the times when I can generally reply is necessary, because I do have a young son myself, but I don’t really want the parents to know that I’m working at midnight on their kid’s assignments.

LAURA SOKAL: So, these are the ones who are working so, so, so hard to try and meet the demands– and they did have the highest number of demands of any of the groups. If you think of it almost like a teeter-totter, when the demands are so many are so heavy that they weigh it down and you can’t balance it with the internal and external resources–the co-regulation and the self-regulation– that’s when teachers really start to burn out. So, if you thought about a teeter-totter, this one is exactly balanced, but it could go either way.

KENT DAVIES: The detached group made up an alarming 18% percent of teachers surveyed.

LAURA SOKAL: And the reason that we called it the detached was that they had the highest amount or highest level of withdrawal. They also had the highest exhaustion, and they had the second-highest loss of accomplishment.

DETACHED TEACHER #1: I don’t know how to totally describe it, despair of defeat, a creeping cynicism as to the state of our school in particular.

DETACHED TEACHER #2: The main thing that I’m feeling right now is kind of like forgotten in this whole thing, because they keep saying that it’s about children first, but what about the people who work with the children?

DETACHED TEACHER #3: Basically, if you are not happy, find another job. Very frustrating. We know teaching is a thankless profession, but it really felt like it was so much more during this pandemic.

LAURA SOKAL: You can hear that they just are overwhelmed and that they’re at the end of their rope. So, in this group, they felt very little support, they weren’t using any physical or psychological health practices that would support them, and they didn’t perceive any support from colleagues or parents. So, when we say detached, it’s just not this idea that they’re withdrawing from the students. It’s that they’re detached from all the social supports in the school. They have the support of their family, but that’s it.

KENT DAVIES: The last group was the inefficacious group, which made up about 9% of teachers surveyed.

LAURA SOKAL: So, efficacy is a subjective evaluation of your skill in success at a given task. So, when we say inefficacious, it means they’re telling us they’re not doing a good job at their teaching right now, or they feel that they’re not. So, this final group, they had moderate exhaustion, moderate withdrawal, but they just weren’t able to perceive that they were performing in the classroom. So, this group of teachers found support in their family and friends, and they did do some physical health practices like exercising and eating properly and sleeping, but they didn’t perceive any school-based support– so, nothing from administrators, nothing from colleagues, and nothing from parents and guardians.

INEFFICACIOUS TEACHER #1: Teachers are worried for their safety daily. We are teaching online and in-person simultaneously, with minimum preparation and no support. The constant use of technology is creating an environment where teachers are contacted 24/7 and expected to respond immediately. There is no separation from work. We are working hard, but it’s never hard enough.

KENT DAVIES: As time wears on, the added stress on teachers becomes even more challenging as some have reported feeling the effects of pandemic fatigue.[vii]

LESLEY EBLIE TRUDEL: It’s going on and on, right? And everyone just wants this to end, and the only thing that we have as a light at the end of the tunnel is this vaccine, right? That’s going to take a while. So, I think people are getting tired, and that’s something that we need to be aware of, is, you know, the sustainability of teachers in this situation.

KENT DAVIES: And while teachers taking leave or retiring hasn’t increased dramatically in some school divisions, the potential for increased attrition is still a very real concern.[viii]

LESLEY EBLIE TRUDEL: I would hypothesize that engaged or remaining involved or even in that over-extended group is not sustainable as the pandemic goes on, as demands increase, and as teachers feel that resources can’t offset those demands. So, yes, certainly, that’s a concern for me.

KENT DAVIES: High levels of teacher burnout and subsequent attrition can bring considerable financial costs to schools and educational organizations, while negatively affecting school climate, school effectiveness, and most of all, a student’s ability to learn. It’s in all our interests to help teachers do their job more effectively.

LAURA SOKAL: Administrators have to acknowledge the stress that teachers are under. They have to give them voice and choice and allow them to contribute to some of the solutions. As well, we have– with our partnership with Canadian Mental Health Association– we have some courses that can be offered to allow administrators to have the skills to support teachers who are under stress.

KENT DAVIES: This is important, as survey data demonstrates that teachers who perceived good parental or administrator support coped better with added stress and performed better in the classroom.[ix]

LAURA SOKAL: It’s on everybody. It’s not something you can go and fix at home. It’s something that all of us have to work on together. Everything in the classroom wants to do a good job, so let’s set up environments that allow them to do that. And we’re going to have to give more support and be a little bit more compassionate and understanding in times when there’s a pandemic on. Everybody’s trying to figure out their way and we see this. We see the teachers who are  doing really well talking about how effective their administrators are and how they feel like they have their back. Administrators in this are so important.

KENT DAVIES: Sokal and Trudel also suggest job-crafting as a potential way to foster growth with engaged teachers while lessening the load of teachers who are overwhelmed.[x]

LAURA SOKAL: And it’s basically this idea of working smarter, not working harder, and crafting your job to allow it to do the things you love the most of the time, with most of your energy. So, it asks you to analyze your job and all the tasks you have–how important they are, how much time they take, if you do them alone, if you do them together, how much you enjoy them. And then the next day, you look at your strengths, you look at your motives and your goals, and then you put them together. So, it ends up that teachers are able to say ‘These are the things that I’m really good at that are really important and take a lot of time, and this is what most my job is going to be. Then I have these other things that are challenging that I don’t like, and I’m either going to minimize the time I do them, or I’m going to swap out.’ So, an example of this would be a teacher who says ‘I hate doing recess duty but so and so hates coaching, so I’m going do her coaching and she’s going do my recess duty.’ This is happening all the time. It really ties into this idea of having agency and making your job allow you to be the best teacher that you can be.

KENT DAVIES: For teachers who are feeling the effects of burnout, Sokal recommends different types of recovery strategies that help separate work life from home life.

LAURA SOKAL: It’s really important that not only people use the self-regulation to go home and do something that allows them to have lower activation and stress levels so they have energy to go back the next day. But it’s also important that their administrators encourage them to do that. So, we heard from teachers who are doing really well that their administrators would say things like ‘Look, you have two kids at home as well. Turn off the computer. I don’t want to see you. I don’t want to hear from you. I don’t want you working till you are back on there again at 8:30 or whatever time.’ And when people were told that they’re not on-call 24/7 for parents and kids, they did better.

KENT DAVIES: Both Sokal and Trudel maintain that in order to ensure students get the best education possible, both at a distance or in the classroom, the first step is to listen to teachers and what they’re telling us.

LESLEY EBLIE TRUDEL: It’s important for teachers to understand where they’re at on this continuum, in these dimensions, and to be empowered to choose their path forward. So, it’s important for teachers to be agents of their future.

KENT DAVIES: The research indicates that there are five unique ways that Canadian teachers are experiencing this pandemic while some are more successful than others, in order to support each group, a unique combination of rethinking job demands and resources will be necessary for resilience and recovery.[xi]

LAURA SOKAL: This research is about amplifying teachers’ voices and it’s hard to amplify silence. You know, people are being incredibly generous with their time. We started off by saying, you know, we’re all in the same boat. Well, I guess we’ve figured out we’re actually not in the same boat: we’re in different boats. But we’re in the same storm. So, if we want to make sure that all five boats or all kinds of teachers — teacher profile groups — make it back to the safe harbour, we need to ensure that each of them has the most achievable combination of supports and demands, the most relevant to that particular person. So, this plan is going to take multi-level responses from government, divisional administrators, school administration and teachers, because we know teachers cannot and should not navigate the storm alone. Both individual and organizational responses are essential to our success as a system in this pandemic.


KENT DAVIES: You’ve been listening to Research Question. Research Question is produced by the University of Winnipeg oral history centre.

The University of Winnipeg is located on Treaty 1 Territory, the heartland of the Metis people.

Written by Kent Davies, with assistance by Laura Sokal.

Narrated and produced by Kent Davies, additional recordings by Laura Sokal.

Interviews with Laura Sokal and Leslie Eblie Trudel.

The voices actors were Alina Wilson, Bailey Riffel, Taylor Martin, Brianne Bartel, Jessica Eblie, Ellen Reimann, Annie Reykdal, Sheila Mills, Micah Doerksen, Rick Mills, and John Sokal.

Our theme music is by Lee Rosevere.

For more information regarding this research project, please see the selected readings section on our Research Question episode page.

For more on University of Winnipeg research, go to uwinnipeg.ca/research

For more information on the University of Winnipeg oral history centre, and the work that we do, go to oralhistorycentre.ca.

Thanks for listening.


[i] Laura Sokal, Lesley Eblie Trudel, and Jeff Babb. “I’ve had it! Factors associated with burnout and low organizational commitment in Canadian teachers during the second wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” International Journal of Educational Research-Open, Volumes 2-2, (2021): 1.

[ii] Caroline Alphonso, “COVID-19 pandemic will reshape how Canadian kids experience school in the next academic year,” Globe and Mail, July 9, 2020. Accessed January 19, 2021.

[iii] Maan Alhmidi, “Teachers concerned about their health, quality of education as they deal with challenges of COVID-19 pandemic,” The Canadian Press, October 2, 2020. Accessed January 19, 2021.

[iv] Laura Sokal, Lesley Eblie Trudel, and Jeff Babb. “Canadian teachers’ attitudes toward change and technology, efficacy, and burnout during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic,” International Journal of Educational Research-Open, Volume 1, (2020): 1.

[v] Danton Unger, “The new tool to understand how teachers cope with the pandemic: U of W,” CTV Winnipeg, May 4, 2020. Accessed January 19 2021.

[vi] Laura Sokal, Lesley Eblie Trudel, and Jeff Babb. “How to prevent teacher burnout during the coronavirus pandemic,” The Conversation, June 16, 2020. Accessed January 19, 2021.

[vii]Stressed teachers await provincial support,” Winnipeg Free Press, October 23, 2020. Accessed January 19, 2021.

[viii] Maggie Macintosh, “Pandemic-fuelled stress hasn’t triggered mass exodus of teachers in city, data shows,” Winnipeg Free Press, December 30, 2020. Accessed January 20, 2021.

[ix] Laura Sokal, Lesley Eblie Trudel, and Jeff Babb. “How to prevent teacher burnout during the coronavirus pandemic,” The Conversation, June 16, 2020. Accessed January 19, 2021.

[x] Chase Mielke, “How Job Crafting Can Prevent Educator Burnout,” ASCD Education Update. Vol 60. (August, 2018). Accessed January, 19 2021. 

[xi] Laura Sokal, Lesley Eblie Trudel, and Jeff Babb. “COVID-19’s Second Wave: How are teachers faring with the return to physical schools?EdCan (2020). Accessed January 19, 2021.