Earlier this week, I interviewed a New York City public school educator about her thoughts on the shortage, and she shared that some of the top reasons teachers were leaving the field were due to low salary, health concerns, poor treatment from parents, and bans on teaching "controversial" subject matter.
Many public school workers in the BuzzFeed Community commented on the post, sharing the shocking reasons why they decided to quit or were thinking about leaving. Their responses provided a real look into the reality that teachers are currently facing, and it's heartbreaking. Here's what people had to say:
1. "One of my new coworkers is a former teacher. After 15 years of teaching high school biology, she decided to quit and change careers because she realized that the staff at Panera were getting paid more. I used to be a biology teacher, too. I quit a long time ago because Republican politicians were passing laws requiring biology teachers to say that evolution isn't real. (Evolution is real. We've known that for a very long time.)"
2. "I’m an occupational therapist at a public district, and yes, it’s underfunding, yes, it’s low pay, and yes, it’s over-politicizing the career…but let me tell you more teacher friends that have left the profession had their last straw because of parents.
3. "I’ll be leaving teaching after this year. It’s my sixth year teaching. I have tenure, and I was teacher of the year. I take my job very seriously because I truly believe it makes a huge impact. But I don’t want a job that requires active shooter drills anymore, it’s not normal.
"The added pressure that my decision could mean life or death for my students is too much. I sometimes think I sound weak or dramatic saying this, but I just want to teach and create a positive environment, not make life and death decisions."
4. "I left teaching when I realized I didn’t care about the students. I never spent a dime of my own money for supplies. I was unprepared, had no mentor and didn’t seek one out, and had zero time for students who were unmotivated (just like I was).
5. "One of the reasons I quit teaching English was simple: I’m tired of teaching about old white guys. People seem very stuck on certain 'classics' and can’t figure out why we should change."
6. "I quit this year. I make less per hour, but more per year, which means I don't have to stress about being granted extra summer jobs in order to make up the difference.
"But more than the money, it was the disrespect and harassment from administration and somewhat by parents. I'm glad I'm free, and I'm working to find jobs in my new field for my teacher friends."