Left and right, many great teachers are quitting their jobs in droves.
Although it can be challenging to pinpoint how many teachers are deciding to leave the profession, what we do know is that there is a severe shortage of teachers across the globe—and we are to expect the shortage to worsen over time.
But the question is, why are teachers quitting the profession?
There’s no denying that teaching is an all-consuming profession. You have to be dedicated and really put work into it to be really good at it. But even though teachers love teaching, there are many saddening reasons why they decide to quit their jobs.
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Today, let’s go over some of the top reasons why teachers decide to leave their job.
Why Are Teachers Quitting The Profession?
Top 8 Reasons That Make Them Decide To Quit
1.) Teachers are poorly compensated
One in three teachers is to quit in the first five years. And one of the main reasons why teachers decide to call it quits per research is because of too low salaries.
We all know how hard it is to get by today. With inflation hitting an all-time high and the cost of living rising by the minute, teachers are forced to leave their jobs because their wages are insufficient to cover their expenses.
The average teacher’s salary has been seen to decline since 2001, and the rate of increase in teacher salaries has been below that of other professions. The wage gap between teachers and other professionals (engineers, doctors, lawyers) has drastically increased over the past decade.
Teachers’ salaries also do not reflect their experiences—they are being compensated with the bare minimum. While they are already facing an unscrupulous amount of stress, they also have to face the stress of making sure that their living expenses are being covered.
2.) Teachers are burned out
It’s no secret that teachers are unfairly overworked. But being overworked is only part of the problem; as mentioned earlier, teachers are barely making enough money to support themselves and their families, which adds more stress and makes them burn out.
On and off the clock teachers have to manage a classroom of kids who can sometimes be disrespectful and demanding. And on top of that, teachers have to deal with piles of endless paperwork, meetings, and other extracurricular activities that can really consume their time and energy.
With so much to do in so little time, it’s inevitable for teachers to become burned out which will eventually have negative effects on their minds and overall health.
3.) Teacher autonomy is restricted in the classroom
Another reason that contributes to teachers quitting teaching is the lack of voice and autonomy in the classroom.
It can be hard to teach when you are not allowed to make decisions about your own classroom. Most teachers are restricted from making decisions about their students, making decisions about their own curriculum, and even making decisions about their own assessments.
Teachers often feel like they’re not getting the autonomy they need in order to be effective in their jobs, this can be quite challenging for them, especially now that there are so many standards for them to meet each year now.
If teachers don’t have the power to make decisions about their own way of teaching and handling their classrooms, it can be hard for them to feel empowered to be the best teacher they can be.
4.) Teachers are asked to do more with less
Many teachers are expected to do more with less (money, support, and time). This can mean staying up late at night and putting up lesson plans because they haven’t had the time during the day in school or teachers losing limited planning time to cover sick teachers’ classes because there aren’t enough teachers in school.
With limited time and resources, teachers also often get money right out of their own pocket to pay for learning materials just so that their students will get the rightful quality education that they deserve. There are even cases when teachers have to come in to work sick because there are no substitute teachers available to cover for them.
The end result is always an increasing workload for teachers. We all know that they deserve more than that.
5.) Teachers don’t feel respected
Once, a teacher friend of mine told me the reason why she had to leave her job. She had a 30-minute break for the day where she had to eat very quickly, finish a few papers, and get ready for her next subject.
She was teaching high school students back then. When she was about to go to her next class, she felt the urge to relieve herself, so she quickly ran to the bathroom for a while to do so.
She ended up being a few minutes late, and when she entered the room, she heard students say, “well, it’s about time.”
And that’s when it hit her. She was not feeling respected at all when she was a teacher.
It’s a common refrain for teachers—they don’t feel respected. This can be a tough pill to swallow but it’s the truth, and the truth hurts.
The general public may not understand how hard teachers work or what they’re up against—or they think they know better than educators when it comes to educating children. And if you think that being disrespected by your students is bad enough—it’s even worse when you see that the administration doesn’t value your ideas either!
Many teachers are not respected in a way that allows them to do their job well. And if you don’t feel respected, then you’ll not have the motivation to stay in the profession for long.
6.) Testing has become a goal and not teaching itself
Teachers are to deal with constant testing which takes away from the actual teaching time and makes it impossible for them to innovate and improve their lessons because they can’t try anything new without first getting approval from administrators that may not understand what teachers are trying to do or why teachers want it done a certain way.
The problem with this is that teaching to the test makes it hard to pay attention to other aspects of the curriculum. If a teacher is trained to teach in a certain way and then is forced to change their teaching methods, then they may feel like they are not at their best at their job.
Teaching to standards creates a system where teachers are told what needs to be taught, but not necessarily how or why. This can make it difficult for teachers who prefer using their own methods for getting information delivered to their students in class.
7.) Teachers lack opportunities for professional development
Just because teachers are already teachers doesn’t mean that they stop learning. Teachers need to be in a constant and continuous learning process that will help nurture their skills and effectiveness in the classroom.
But recent researches show that teachers do not have enough resources available for professional development. Whether it is through a district or state-wide training program, or even just by attending conferences or seminars, teachers should have access to professional development opportunities that will help them grow as an educator and improve their teaching methods.
When teachers feel stagnant at work, this can inevitably lead them to a dark path toward resignation because they may feel like there aren’t any further opportunities for growth within their current work setting.
8.) Teachers are forced to neglect their personal life
A teacher’s personal life matters too. But if a teacher is working almost 70-80 hours every week in school (including the work they bring home), there’s simply no time left for anything else. And that can be detrimental to their physical and mental health.
Anyone who is overworked is bound to hate what they do. That’s why most teachers who are slumped with work in school are left to consider looking for a less stressful and less overloaded job.
Time outside of work is essential, and everyone deserves some time off. And teachers need to spend their free time with family and friends to regenerate and revitalize their energy.
Many great teachers are committed to the profession and want to work with students who need them.
But still, they also have other needs as humans—needs that go beyond their paychecks. As a society, we need to do more for our teachers—and for ourselves, because our children deserve the best education possible.
We need to start supporting teachers and providing them with working conditions that promote trust, cooperation, and respect so we can help stop the teacher turnover problem in its tracks.
Teachers are one of the most important figures in a child’s life. They are tasked with teaching them valuable lessons and guiding them towards a successful future, so it’s important that they be happy at work. If your teacher is not happy, they will likely leave sooner than later.
These are just some of the pressing issues that contribute to why many teachers decide to leave the profession. As we now realize these critical concerns, we should now be aware and committed to changing this situation for all our great teachers!