‘I really hate to tell y’all this but we’re drowning!’, teachers tell BISD they are overworked

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BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — On Tuesday, at a school board meeting, Brownsville ISD teachers spent World Teacher’s Day telling the district they are overworked.

“I really hate to tell y’all this but we’re drowning!” said a librarian named Matilda.

Matilda was one of 20 others signed up in the public comments section that included some teachers who said they need a break.

“Enough is enough because we have so much to worry about,” said Tania Carreon, a kindergarten teacher, and a Texas State Teacher’s Association member.

Carreon said they are supposed to keep up with state and district requirements.

“If you think about elementary kids, second graders the last time they had a normal year was back in kinder,” said Carreon. “And it’s a pressure on us to close the gap.”

Others, like Matilda, said though the technology is supposed to help, they run into a lot of technical difficulties.

“The iPads the Chrome Books that’s great,” said Matilda. “But the reality is the teacher starts lesson (the students say) ‘ma’am! ma’am! Mines not working!’ It’s a constant troubleshoot!”

The Association of Brownsville Educators (AOBE) said they sent out a survey to over 2,000 employees where over 200 responded. One of the questions asked if employees contracted an illness since the pandemic began with the highest being responding with anxiety at 63% and the second-highest being high blood pressure at 49%.

The AOBE said last week one educator at an elementary school died of a heart attack in the classroom. The teacher was also a member of the AOBE. The agency said he had no underlying conditions but believe the stress had some part to do with it.

BISD Spokesperson Jason Moody told ValleyCentral that the teacher’s death was not caused by stress from his job.

“Out of respect for the family, we can’t comment on his passing because we do not have permission from [the teacher’s] family,” Moody said in a statement. 

Another teacher said she is a part of the group that developed anxiety.

“I did actually through the pandemic started getting a lot of anxiety. I did lose family members due to COVID,” said Veronica Borrego, special education elementary school teacher and president of TSTA.

The AOBE said they have seen many resignations as well.

“We’re seeing a higher rate of teachers retiring or resigning early even throughout the first semester,” said Ida Abeldano, an organizer for the Association of Brownsville Educators.

AOBE said they are asking the district to help teachers and encourage any educators who are struggling to let the district know.

Editor’s note: This story was updated with new information, and the name of a teacher that died was removed for privacy.

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