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    12 Public School Workers Told Us Why They Left Their Jobs, And Honestly, No Wonder There's A National Teacher Shortage

    "I don’t want a job that requires active shooter drills. It’s not normal."

    There's a national teacher shortage. Since March 2020, over 300,000 public school teachers have left their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    A teacher with a student in the classroom

    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.

    A teacher in the classroom

    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.

    A teacher in the classroom

    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).

    A teacher walking with students

    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."


    7. "My best friend is a 3rd grade teacher. Another very good friend is a teacher. All they have ever told me is how administration couldn't care less about them, and couldn't care less about the children.

    A classroom

    8. "I left at the end of last school year. I have less anxiety at my new job, a team (and leadership) who support/respect me, and I’m getting paid my worth ($20k more than teaching). I left after 10 years, a master's, and a doctorate degree. Teaching in Florida is the worst — we’re constantly under attack."


    9. "I'm a lunch lady in Minneapolis. After COVID, the strike, distance learning, social upheaval from the murder of George Floyd, and the dismantling of the school board, yeah. It's all an issue.

    Lunch ladies at a school

    10. "I am one of those 300,000 teachers that left. After teaching over Zoom for the end of the 2020 school year, I left and have not regretted it one bit. I make less money now, but my stress level has dropped tremendously. It was one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, but the stress and pressure from admin and parents was not worth it."


    11. "My mom is a primary school teacher, and she calls her job 'an expensive hobby.' She pointed out that most cars in the school parking lot are Mercedes or other high-end SUVs: not because teachers are paid so well but because most teachers, including herself, have a spouse with a well-paying job, so they can be a teacher."

    A classroom

    12. "I'm a school librarian in NJ (very blue state). I had two books denied for purchase because even though students could easily just, you know, walk by them on the shelves and not check them out (I know, shocking concept), just by having them available was me indoctrinating our kids about critical race theory. A term idiots love to throw around without having a fucking clue what they're talking about.

    A library

    What do you think? If you're a teacher, share your thoughts in the comments below.