Why are teachers quitting? We are qualified, and yet are micromanaged. We are educated, and yet we are not trusted to just do our job. Most of us have Masters degrees, and yet make the same pay as a full time minimum wage worker. So why are teachers quitting?
I love my job! Most days my job doesn’t even feel like a job, but a joy. I know that sounds like a farce, but I have administrators who support me, I have colleagues who I adore and respect, and I don’t have a lot of the struggles that most people do in education today; because I am a part of a small close-knit school. Unfortunately, I am a minority.
Why are teachers Quitting?
1. Class Sizes
Most classroom teachers have upwards of 40 students in their classes. My personal take on this particular piece of our job is that when you have anymore than 25 students in your class, that your job is more behavior management versus teaching. That should not be the majority of our job as secondary teachers.
Why are administrators/districts allowing so many students into classes? Because each student = money that the school gets. If you have that many students in a class, then your district values money over teachers.
2. Teacher Pay
Most teachers have a Masters degree and yet make the same pay as a full time minimum wage worker (in the U.S.). What is teacher pay based on? Generally two things: Taxes (small percentage) & state per pupil allocation (the majority). The public wants to blame taxes, and while that is part of teacher pay, that is not the majority. It truly goes up to state legislation. Recently, Colorado state governor Jared Polis proposed a large increase in per pupil funding. If this is passed, then Colorado teachers (me) would get an increase in pay. However, if you cross over the state line, to similar populated districts, the pay is almost double. There should not be this kind of disparity in Colorado education, but there is, which is why teachers are quitting.
P.S. If you want a few side hustle ideas check our my previous post: side hustles.
3. Work Load
On average a teacher makes 1,500 decisions in one single day. Which is at the level of a busy business executive, and yet they make a fraction of the pay that a business executive does. Most secondary teachers (I am not primary, so I can’t speak to that!) have on average 3-4 preps max. Which means they are prepping for three to four different classes. That means lesson plans, worksheets (practice), activities, assessments etc. and that also means grading all of that as well.
Then, teachers feel pressured to take their work home. Which means that your entire life is becoming about your job, and you lose sight of yourself and who you are outside of the classroom. But administration keeps pushing data and numbers, and pushing that as the primary concern.
When your value is based on how quick you get grades back to students, and how happy you make parents, your workload only increases, while your mental health decreases. The workload becomes unbearable, which is why teachers are quitting. This creates a crazy amount of stress that gets hard to quantify.
Being a busy business executive within education, but getting micromanaged is not a strategy for success. I am in a building of veteran teachers, who I learn from every single day. And while I am one of the lucky ones, we just changed administration from the best principal I have ever worked for, and although that principal is now our superintendent. Our district is changing. One positive of our new principal is he is great at discipline, which I am super appreciative of.
A friend was telling me that her administrator told her in their pre formal meeting that even though their building was filled with veteran teachers, that none of the building was capable of getting a 5 on the formal (which is a max score). The administrator also said, “you can expect a 2 or 3”; so before he even observed her, he made up his mind on her score. Then he later said, that he was going to look at her other administrators score of her, to determine her score. That unnerves me, I can’t with how wrong that thought process is.
This is exactly what happened to me in student teaching. I was Lucky to get the best teacher in the building, and yet at my review meeting after an observation he told me that he couldn’t give me a score higher than a three, even though it was a 4.5 to 5 level observation, because then I had room to grow. Versus just rating me for what I showed. Talk about a farce, and this is the kind of crap that happens in education.
This list could be so many bullet points long, but currently those are the top four reasons why teachers are quitting education today.
I hope this helps clarify things for you!