Readers React to EdSurge Articles About Teachers Leaving the Classroom

Teaching and Learning

Readers React to EdSurge Articles About Teachers Leaving the Classroom

By Rebecca Koenig     May 31, 2023

Readers React to EdSurge Articles About Teachers Leaving the Classroom

Too much stress. Too little time to plan. Too much violence. Too little compensation. Too much polarization.

For these reasons and more, teachers are leaving the classroom.

EdSurge recently published two articles that explore this phenomenon from different angles. One followed up with teachers who traded the education profession for different careers and asked them whether they found the better life they’d been searching for. The other explored what happens to the school communities that former teachers leave behind.

This topic is clearly resonating with our readers. These two stories are currently our most popular, and they’ve been shared thousands of times on social media.

Each has also generated lively commentary on Twitter and Facebook. Here is a selection of reader responses. Comments have been lightly edited for style, clarity and brevity.

A teacher in Tennessee: “It’s not an easy career. Takes a lot of patience, diligence, discipline and commitment. If you don’t have all that, don’t even try. Thirty-one years and going strong here.”

A former educator in Texas: “My first year teaching was in 1991. I enjoyed it and the profession was respected. I retired from school administration last year. I briefly considered going back to education in a new state. Upon reflection (and watching the news and reels), I wouldn’t dare wade back into the politics, parental demands and amount of disrespect leveled at teachers or school administrators. It’s not worth my peace.”

A former teacher in New Hampshire: “Definitely enjoying post-teaching life much more than daily classroom grind.”

A teacher in California: “Teaching is hard and I can’t survive without stress until I finally get my credential, which with the edTPA has been a nightmare. However, teaching kids is my passion. I am devoted and I can’t see myself doing anything else. Not many people live what they do, and sometimes I think that the price for doing what you love is lower pay and all the other failings of the school system. I’m going to try for a few more years. I’m approaching my fifth. I’m proud of my work so far and my students make me a better person. I just don’t know how long I’ll be able to sustain this emotionally or even physically.”

A teacher in California: “What about those of us entering teaching later in life? I love the teaching and students but the paperwork involved with SPED [special education] is exhausting.”

A teacher in New York: “Twenty-five years teaching and coaching. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. I 100 percent get the sentiment. I’m exhausted. It’s draining. You don’t get a lot of support. But I can very happily make it seven more years and then work somewhere like our local hardware store. I love what I do, but simultaneously it drains the life out of me. Doesn’t matter how good you are at the craft of teaching … the mental and emotional toll is real. More now than ever. It’s a business model now. They don’t care that there is burnout. Rely more on tech and replace less by attrition.”

An educator in Texas: “Let’s consider what the teacher loses when leaving a school. It is not the same as walking away from most other jobs. You lose a whole level of community, family, continuity and routine. The longer you’ve been in the classroom, the harder it is. In some ways, you lose your identity. You may feel like you’ve somehow failed children. It can even hold the emotional pain similar to a divorce or a death. I don’t know of a single teacher who didn’t first agonize over the decision, consider all other possible options, and cry many, many tears. Even if the teacher hasn’t yet left, but has seriously considered it, the heartache of the possibility is there. The very fact the thought has entered the mind feels almost treasonous, because when you become a teacher, it is so much more than a job. The heart awaiting its break if she/he somehow can’t hang on is there. Whether it’s leaving the profession altogether or leaving a district, it is still so hard, and knowing kids need us to stay is even harder. Things must change. Without it, our country, our children, face a future much darker and complicated than even this difficult issue.”

A teacher in Mississippi: “So give us a reason to stay. Give us respect, personal safety, the legal ability to actually do something about discipline in our classrooms, and an actual wage comparable to our level [of] education. Period.”

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