Why Good Teachers Quit Teaching
Teachers are the builders of the nation. Here are some of the top reasons why teachers quit the jobs they once loved.
1. Challenging work conditions
According to one 2017 survey conducted by the AFT, of nearly 5,000 teachers, Out of 5000 teachers, nearly two-thirds of them feel their jobs are “always” or “often” stressful roughly double the rates of stress experienced by the general workforce.
Cassandra M. tells us, “Educators are bombarded with paperwork, ridiculous curriculum, and lack of time along with unrealistic expectations.” Joan F. agrees, citing a laundry list of complaints. “Unmanageable class size, lack of materials, crappy building conditions, working 10-15 hours a day and weekends, ineffective administrators, frivolous meetings and regulations, no support for discipline problems, etc.”
2. Not enough support, not enough respect
Many teachers feel the negative effects of what they perceive as a lack of respect. A recent report from Penn State University and the non-profit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, claims among professional occupations, teachers rate lowest in feeling that their opinions count at work. “There seems to be little or no old-fashioned respect for teachers today,” Ann D. tells us. Whether the perceived lack of respect comes from students, parents, or administrators, it takes a toll. “Stress, lack of respect, and support,” says Erin T.
“It’s tough, even after 16 years.” Georgianne H. suggests, “How about nerves gone to bits as a reason why teachers are leaving?” In addition, many teachers report feeling micro-managed by administrators and parents. “Admin just doesn’t respect teachers,” Rosanne O. claims. “We have little to NO say.” Carole R. is frustrated by “lawnmower parents, who expect their child to get an ‘A’ when they are only doing ‘C’ work.”
3. Testing and data collection
According to an NEA survey of classroom teachers, Kevin P. tells us he hates being part of what he characterizes as a “punitive and abusive test-and-punish system.” Amy L. quit after just three years because of what she calls the “teach to the test” mentality. “My first year, my principal called me into his office and told me to only teach to the standards, not teach anything outside them, and to not tell my students I was trying to prepare them for the real world or college. I started looking for a way out right then.”
Teachers are now a days forced by the administration not to teach anything extra or beyond the curriculum to prepare the students for further studies and for future perspective. Teachers are told, just to go to the classroom and teach the students from the textbook and if, however a student doesn’t score well the teachers are forced to provide them at least passing marks. Teachers are made responsible for the result of their class and subject.
4. No longer looking out for kids best interests
Bonnie D. left after 30 years of teaching because she felt the system was no longer acting in the best interest of all students. “Everything became all about passing the ‘almighty test'” she says. “Decisions were made by the administrators to concentrate only on those students who could perform well. Call me old fashioned, but I always did my best to reach and teach every student in my room, not simply the ones who had the best chance of passing a test.”
5. In the end, family takes priority
Teachers are a particularly tenacious lot, but some teachers are leaving because they have decided to invest their energy closer to home. “After eight years of teaching and 20 years of dreaming about teaching, I have left the profession,” says Cedar R. “Due to an overall lack of support, I found it very difficult to balance teaching and raising my two children.” Heather A. expresses her disappointment this way, “I realized that the school system is broken beyond repair. When you realize that you wouldn’t send your own children to your school, you quit and homeschool them!”
What do you say, educators? What do you think are the biggest reasons why teachers quit?