Over half of teachers want to leave the profession early, NEA poll finds : NPR

Teachers reported being burned out and thinking of leaving the field forever.

Teachers are gaining momentum for absent colleagues. They cover vacancies. And 55% of them say they will leave teaching earlier than originally planned, according to a survey of its members conducted by the country’s largest teachers’ union.

A survey by the National Association of Education, conducted in January, helps quantify the stress facing educators right now. It was found that since August, the number of those who say they will soon leave the profession has increased significantly. Other NEA survey results include:

  • 90% of its members say that the feeling of burnout is a serious problem.
  • 86% say since the beginning of the pandemic they have seen more educators leave the profession or retire early.
  • 80% report that vacancies have led to more work responsibilities for those who remain.

“Last summer, I started traveling around the country,” said Becky Pringle, president of NEA, which has nearly 3 million members, about the push for the poll. “Without exception, every stop, from Kentucky to Auckland, I’ve heard similar stories of educators who were exhausted, depressed, feeling unloved, disrespected.”

The poll found a racial gap in discontent: 62% of black teachers and 59% of Latin American teachers say they leave earlier than planned, compared to 55% overall. But the desire to leave the profession was at a similar level among beginners, educators and those closer to retirement.

“Our morning emails every day start with unfilled vacancies,” says Amber McCoy, a NEA member who teaches fourth grade in Huntington, Virginia.[It] will tell us where we have a staff shortage in the building and [ask] we should intervene in any way and at any time we can. “

She says fewer 20-year-old veterans like herself and younger teachers who are leaving or thinking about leaving.

“That’s not what they were bargaining for,” McCoy says. “I also mentor new teachers in my district, and one of the girls who did some clinical work in my class called me and just said, ‘Is it okay for me to cry every day after school?’ And I said, “Honey, this is abnormal. But this year it’s not uncommon.” “

Of course, saying you are thinking of leaving, or reporting that others are leaving, is not the same as actually putting your message. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are 567,000 fewer educators in America’s public schools today than before the pandemic. Analysis of NEA BLS data shows that 43% of published vacancies remain unfilled.

When it comes to decisions, NEA says the money is in the minds of its members. They support raising wages and hiring more people. Pringle says the union is extending a message from the Biden administration that money from the U.S. bailout plan – $ 122 billion in federal aid to K-12 schools – could and should be used to raise wages and create new jobs.

“We were asked to help [U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona] to really push this part of the use of these funds, – says Pringle, – because some school districts were a little eager to use them to hire staff.

One of the major reasons for this, she explained, is that the extra money is planned for three years, while hiring someone or raising a salary is an uncertain financial obligation.

However, even if the funding is temporary, Pringle argues, it is needed right now.

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