Monday, February 22, 2021

Why Do Teachers Leave the Profession?

According to this report, stress:

Key Findings
  • Almost half of the public school teachers who voluntarily stopped teaching in public schools after March 2020 and before their scheduled retirement left because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • At least for some teachers, the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have exacerbated what were high stress levels pre-pandemic by forcing teachers to, among other things, work more hours and navigate an unfamiliar remote environment, often with frequent technical problems.
  • Many early leavers could be lured back to public school teaching. Over half of the teachers who voluntarily left the profession early primarily because of the pandemic indicated that they would be somewhat or definitely willing to return to public school teaching once most staff and students are vaccinated. Slightly fewer of those would return if there was only regular testing of staff and students for COVID-19.
  • Stress was the most common reason for leaving public school teaching early—almost twice as common as insufficient pay. This is corroborated by the fact that a majority of early leavers went on to take jobs with either less or around equal pay, and three in ten went on to work at a job with no health insurance or retirement benefits.
  • Of the teacher leavers who are currently employed, about three in ten hold a noneducation-related job, another three in ten have a different type of teaching position, and the rest are in nonteaching education jobs. For those teacher leavers who are still in education, more flexibility was the most common attribute that attracted them to their new job.
  • Involve teachers in developing districts' responses to reducing teacher stress. COVID-19 could open a policy window through which to reconsider the job responsibilities of the typical public school teacher.
  • Districts and state departments of education should consider ways to increase flexibility in teachers' schedules during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the long term. Although only a minority of public school teachers might prefer remote schooling, it could still be attractive to a subset of teachers who wish for more flexibility in their schedule.
  • While waiting for COVID-19 vaccines to roll out, schools should partner with a third party to start regularly testing students and staff as a means to help keep schools open. The federal government should fund COVID-19 testing systems in schools (via qualified third parties) and also mandate that insurers cover the costs of both symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 testing. Schools that have been testing students this school year (which have been primarily private, but also some public) consistently say the chief benefits are reducing anxiety, establishing whether rates of positivity in the school population are low, and helping to contain spread via asymptomatic cases.


Pseudotsuga said...

They left out other causes like "The profession demands "wokeness" and conformity to "critical theory" and other leftist causes du jour."

Anonymous said...

I left for the reasons pseudotsuga said. I could not stand the far left wing radical stranglehold on academia any longer. No more wokeness.
I do plan on returning but I would love it if this putrid ideology would fall to the wayside because humanity opened their eyes and realized what was happening.

lgm said...

The 'two-body' problem is also an issue. Move the pension to a 401k and you'll see more excellent people who can't commit to 30 years in one location come in to the profession.

Ellen K said...

I'd add to that for all administrators to keep their positions and their certifications, they must substitute IN THE CLASSROOM at the level or levels over which they preside for at least a week every calendar school year. I know in my district and most likely in others administrators are big about sitting in meetings and making ludicrous demands and mandates without regard of how that impacts the classroom teacher. I know at one point during my teaching career I was taking roll in three different programs-one for state attendance, one for grading and one for the school attendance office. Then there was the documentation that we had to do individually for every SpEd, GT or 504 for student to be turned in weekly to the tune of pages and pages of commentary. I think administrators need to be held to the standards and practices they demand of their staff.

Darren said...

EllenK, good idea!

lgm, what's the "two-body" problem?

J. Zamora said...

LGM, it's called independent schools. They offer us matched 403Bs and treat us like professionals. We're not subject to as much BS as in the public schools. There is higher turnover than in the public schools but I have to say I rather enjoy my private school!