Mass Teacher Exodus: Record-breaking number of teachers plan to quit
BY EMILY MORENO
As the school year winds down, the stress of teaching is prompting many teachers to not return for the 2022-2023 school year.
“More than half (55%) of members say they are more likely to leave or retire from
education sooner than planned,” National Education Association (NEA) members survey reported.
These staggering numbers are the result of many issues that have been further exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I can definitely see where [teachers] are coming from because they are being overworked and also the low pay they receive,” senior and Early Childhood Education (ECE) student Rosa Avalos said.
However, not all the teachers waited until the end of the year to leave their position. Throughout the school year many cases of teachers leaving mid-year have been seen at CCHS.
“It really sucked [be]cause Mr. [Chris] Martin was a great teacher and when he left we were just kind of stuck doing nothing and it really messed with our certifications and grades,” sophomore Hadley Turner said.
Teachers face many mentally straining challenges with having to juggle planning lessons, grading, test preparations and being there for their students. It’s clear to see why burnout has been a common trend for teachers. The Research Services of Miami-Dade County estimate that between five and 30 percent of teachers show symptoms of burnout.
“It’s all about the students which it should be,” AICE European and AP World teacher Peggy Wilfong said. “But the burden is on the teachers to make it all about the students and there hasn’t been one thing about teacher mental health.”
The traditional challenges of teaching have been multiplied as the current world problems have translated to the classrooms. Now teachers also run the risk of getting sick by their students and staff members. Another dangerous issue is the rise in school shootings and threats that make the profession a dangerous venture.
“Now you sit and look at corporate America jobs where that person is now safely working at home in a virtual environment,” Wilfong said. “The risks to be on the job is a burden”
One of the biggest issues facing the teaching profession is the recurring theme of low pay. The National Education Association Research reported that $80,659 is the average teacher salary in Florida for the 2020-2021 year.
“In our county, teachers do not get a regular increase in pay as the cost-of-living increases,” ECE teacher Deborah Covard said. “We negotiate better pay, but it is rarely enough to make a significant difference.”
Apart from driving teachers away from the profession, these issues have culminated resulting in the decrease in younger generations joining the teaching field.
“I’ve always wanted to be a kindergarten teacher because I enjoy being around little kids and planning fun activities for them,” Avalos said. “But the one thing everyone says is that I shouldn’t do it because they don’t get paid well.”
It’s unclear how this teacher shortage is going to affect the next school year and what long term effects it will have on students, but it will likely be an important moment in education history.