The pandemic has reshaped the way teachers provide an education to students. This meant educators had to change the way they crafted lesson plans, all while navigating their own personal challenges.

A recent study by The University at Albany shows just how difficult the past few years have been. That research shows that female educators have been disproportionally impacted. More women say they’ve experienced stress and problems finding a work-life balance than their male counterparts.

“I think that as female educators, we are nurturers and we take on so much more in the classroom, we bring home with us. For me, I often say when I talk about my kids people ask me, ‘Are you talking about your girls or your students?’ Because I talk about them very similarly,” says Danielle Vaughan, a special education teacher at Scotia-Glenville High School.

The UAlbany study looked at responses from more than 700 educators at 38 schools across the state. The findings show women felt similar levels of stress and work-life balance issues regardless if they also had childcare responsibilities or not.

These stressors could explain why more women left the education field in higher rates than male counterparts.

In a press release about the study, Aaron Leo, the lead author, said, “It poses a question of how female educators can be supported better in school settings. But I think there are issues that go beyond the school-level when it comes to supporting our teachers not just as workers, but also their ability to have a family.”

Vaughan, who has two daughters, says her work and home life have often blended together. When she comes home, she helps with homework, while also working on lesson plans.

Over the years, it’s gotten a bit easier.

“They say to me ‘You have so much patience’ and my husband always says, ‘Well she uses it all at work.’ Because I do tend to have to like decompress when I get home a little bit,” says Vaughan.

For her, it was important to try to find a balance, especially at the height of the pandemic.

“Look for those little moments where someone does something that you have been working on and it can be the smallest bit of progress but for me, that can make all the other challenges of that whole day worth it when I see that little moment of accomplishment,” says Vaughan.