Can Unconventional Teaching Roles Douse Teacher Burnout?


The Center on Reinventing Public Education’s (CRPE) research detailed six types of unconventional teacher roles, according to an article in K-12 Dive.

Lead teacher. This educator acts as a mentor, curriculum developer and co-teacher for a small team of teachers from the same content area or grade level.

Empowered teacher. The role this person plays includes setting school-level structures and policies, like student learning targets and dress codes, and contributes to the school’s annual priority plans.

Team teacher. This educator is part of an integrated team consisting of two to four other teachers per 50-80 students. 

Community learning guide. This person is charged with creating community-connected learning experiences, usually related to students’ cultural backgrounds, natural environments or partnerships with local businesses. 

Solo learning guide. This educator independently teaches five to 15 students, leveraging third-party curriculum materials and resources. 

Technical guide. This role relies on educators’ expertise in technical areas like architecture and robotics to design curriculum and to work with cohorts of 10-20 students, often co-teaching with another guide. 

Roles like these could make the profession more fulfilling and sustainable, per the report. 

K-12 employees are almost twice as likely as other government employees to say they have had a difficult time adjusting to the changes brought on by burnout, according to a 2021 survey conducted by MissionSquare Research Institute. School employees reported higher levels of anxiety, stress and burnout during the pandemic.

A separate survey released in 2022 showed teachers cited politicians and parents as the top sources of what they say is “a lot of stress.” 

“My first year of teaching was super, super hard. … I just did not see how it was sustainable. … I was so drained,” one of the teachers interviewed for the recent CRPE report said. She said switching into a team teaching position from her previous role as an elementary school teacher prevented her from leaving the profession entirely. “Now I love my job, I love to go to school and I love the support I get from my team.”

K-12 Dive

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