What Teachers Lose When They Leave School - EdSurge News (2023)

"His teacher quit last Friday. That's it, she's gone," my friend told me a few weeks ago that her daughter's second-grade teacher, her favorite teacher, left before the end of the school year, leaving her Very sad.

Her voice was obviously trembling, and she continued tremblingly: "She has been crying for several days, all the children are unhappy, the parents are arguing, the new teacher is a substitute teacher, and has been sending the kindergarten mathematics Go home." As we witness a massivemain pipe breakIn reality, families like my friend had to deal with their emotions about the loss they were going through.

As I was overwhelmed with emotion after hearing my friend's story, I found myself thinking about the consequences of the teacher exodus currently happening in states across the country. In eight states, teachersTurnoverThat's the highest in five years, with schools serving families with high poverty rates bearing the brunt. In a 2022 survey administered by the National Education Association,55%Of the responding teachers and support professionals said they were considering leaving the profession earlier than they had planned.

Master Channeling no longer leaks. andTraditional Teacher Education AdmissionsIn recent years, programs nationwide have dwindled and are drying up at an alarming rate.

As the state grapples with the profound impact these challenges have on school communities,"learning loss’ has come into the spotlight. The term is often used in stories detailing what children across the U.S. are missing out on during distance learning. It focuses on how students are falling behind in core academic areas like reading and math, which is of course a key issue. HeThe issue is, the term does not represent the complexities that students, families, and school communities experience with teacher attrition.

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As a veteran educator who has worked in the classroom for over 20 years, I have seen the consequences of teacher turnover. whenteacher leave, the loss is multi-layered: loss of community, continuity and, in many cases, funding. This can change everything for children who need support most academically and socially. This is a loss that should be at the forefront of the national conversation.

community loss

I recently met a father whose son I had taught a few years ago. He thanked me for my flexibility in supporting his son during an extremely difficult and turbulent time for his family. I remember her very well. She has several children at our school, and while her family was going through a crisis, her children were going through various academic and social challenges.

Several teachers at my school came together to support his family. We take the time to discuss each of your children's progress, share strategies, and connect with community organizations. As your child moves on to the next grade, we meet with their new teacher, sharing background information to develop ongoing support. His family has benefited from the strength and collaboration of our team. Strong relationships between teachers, families, and communities can make all the difference in the world, and the loss of a teacher who was in close contact with a family is not easily recovered.

Strong family and community engagement canimprove learning outcomesAnd help create a sense of belonging. Relationships are critical to engaging students and families in meaningful and culturally appropriate ways, and areLiteracy rates, lower dropout rates and better attendance.In schools, relationships often begin with the teacher, and when the teacher leaves, their ties to students and families are irrevocably severed.

Connections between school personnel are also critical. As teachers in school buildings become more cohesive and collaborative, they often develop norms and methods for day-to-day work, communication, conflict, and discipline. considerpressing student mental health and behavioral issues,Schools where educators can learn, grow and be together can be a powerful force for changing school culture and influencing student achievement.

In addition, connections to students, families and the surrounding community make schools more accessibleknowledge fundIntegrate culturally-responsive instruction that connects learning at school to experiences students experience at home. When we lose teachers, we lose the bridges they build that are so vital to student growth.

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loss of continuity

teacher rotation,especially in the middle of the year, causing disruptions that can have a devastating impact on student learning, especially for those most in need. This includes academic achievement often referred to as "learning loss", but goes beyond institutional knowledge and school culture.

research showsTeacher qualityIt is the most important school-related factor affecting student achievement. Teachers gain valuable practical knowledge of teaching through participation in school culture, professional learning, and instructional mentoring. That is not easily replaced. For example, in the story I shared about my friend, she immediately noticed a sharp drop in her daughter's academic quality. This is not uncommon as many schools are strugglingfill vacancyDue to ongoing shortages, they often hire replacement teachers, and in some cases inexperienced teachers may lack the knowledge and training in curriculum and pedagogy to teach as effectively as those who left.

Lost institutional knowledge, including school-wide values, norms, and rituals, cannot easily be replicated. This different type of loss is significant, andInfluenceIn schools where turnover persists year after year, it can be cumulative, leaving the achievement gap for our most marginalized students widening every year.

financial loss

Sustained high turnover rates also impose significant financial costs on school districts. According to a 2017 report by the Economic Policy Institute, spending in metropolitan areas is about$20,000 per new hire.Separation costs include costs associated with leaving, recruiting, hiring, and training new teachers to replace departing teachers. For schools with the highest turnover rates, typically those serving large numbers of low-income students and students of color, this loss directly impacts the quality of instruction and support students receive.

The loss of teachers leads to a constant loss of funds. When hard-to-staff school districts spend some of their funds on attrition, they have less money available for curriculum, enrichment programs, mental health supports, on-campus support staff, and other resources that can help students. In essence, students are paying the price for the continued exodus of teachers.

Fortunately, there are steps school leaders and policymakers can take to begin repairing the damage.

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damage repair

It is possible to keep teachers, but it will require massive systemic changes. It is important to examine what is driving teacher turnover and what can be done to address this problem, which has many dimensions including working conditions, pay, autonomy and a sense of safety in the school community.

improve working conditions

To retain educators, their working conditions must change. This can include ensuring adequate planning time, reducing class sizes, eliminating excess paperwork, and providing the necessary resources to be effective. It also means offering a competitive compensation packagesalaryand other incentives such asStudent Loanssorry to affordstayand child care assistance.

Increased staff, including key school-based staff such asSchool Counselors and PsychologistsHelping with behavioral issues is also an important factor in improving teacher satisfaction. Ensuring a safe and supportive teaching environment is also key. This is especially important as teachers continue to face school violence; as a threat to educators who perceive themselves as members of historically marginalized or underrepresented communities such ascolor masteryesLGBTQ+masters—persist; and continue to engage with the growing community ofattackThis affects well-being and safety in the workplace.

Supporting teachers through intentional community building

Since most teachers leave within five years of entering the profession, researching how to structure programs designed to retain them is critical. Teacher orientation includes components of mentoring, professional development, and mentoring for those entering the field. high qualityteacher onboardingThese programs have been found to increase teacher retention and support a culture of collaboration and community among all teachers in a school building, making them a powerful tool for overall teacher retention.

Build strong relationships with other teachersIncrease the likelihood that a teacher will stayat your current school. Encouraging teachers to collaborate, mentor, and mentor others can also improve atmosphere, culture, and retention.

Preparing School Leaders

Improving working conditions and building communities begins with leadership. Training and supporting school leaders can be one of the most effective strategies a district can use to improve teacher retention. many kinds ofstudyA climate set by school leaders has been shown to be an effective way to reduce teacher attrition, especially for teachers of color. When teachers trust administrators and see them as supportive and collaborative instructional leaders, they are less likely to leave.

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To this end, districts should support and regularly evaluate principal effectiveness by administering school climate surveys and examining turnover rates to determine which leaders need intensive support and training. Since principals have a huge impact on teacher satisfaction and ultimately student achievement, professional development must be a priority. Like teachers, they must receive regular support, training, guidance and assessment to ensure maximum success.

Having worked in this industry for over twenty years, I admit that many schools have lost me over the years. When leadership was unwilling to hear my voice and respect my autonomy, they lost me. They lost me when they failed to foster a community that made me feel like I was truly part of something bigger than myself. They lost me when the weather became so unbearable that even the most dedicated teachers turned away.

I am now part of a thriving school community where we share a shared vision and set of core values. We embrace our families and spend most of our time doing what matters most: teaching our students. I certify that all is not lost. There is room for repair, but we must address the loss of the most dedicated and qualified teachers in our classrooms.

This story is part of an EdSurge series documenting the experiences of various educators. These stories are made available to the public with the support ofIniciativa Chan Zuckerberg. EdSurge maintains editorial control over all content. (Read our ethics statementhere.) This work is licensedCC-NC-ND 4.0.

Tracy Edwards, Ed.D., is a literacy strategist for Southern Nevada.

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What is the #1 reason teachers quit? ›

Compensation (including benefits) is consistently cited across all school types as the number-one reason why educators are considering leaving their jobs.

Why are teachers quitting 2023? ›

Clip: 04/10/2023 | 17m 51s | Staffing shortages, burnout, funding cuts, and debates over the curriculum are adding to the pressures on America's educators. In her new book, bestselling author Alexandra Robbins followed three teachers to see how these issues are changing the way they work.

Why are teachers struggling? ›

This data also suggests that spiking stress levels, student behavior challenges, and a harsh political spotlight have all taken their toll on many American teachers. “Education had changed so dramatically since COVID.

Do teachers have mental health issues? ›

More than a quarter of teachers and principals reported experiencing symptoms of depression as of January 2022, according to a survey from the RAND Corporation .

What of teachers quit in the first 5 years? ›

New teachers are leaving their jobs within 5 years of teaching in percentages as high as 30%. 8% of US teachers are quitting their careers, while only 3% to 4% of teachers in other countries are quitting. A report showed that 29% of teachers quit their job due to personal and lifestyle reasons.

Is it bad for a teacher to quit? ›

Unless your district gives you consent, leaving in the middle of the year may be considered a breach of contract. The school district may have the power to have your teacher's license suspended for a period of time.

What would make teachers stay? ›

In a supportive community , teachers feel valued, wanted, and motivated, which in turn encourages teachers to remain in the profession. “Without the support of the community, beginning teachers will continue to leave the profession for other endeavors which afford them positive feelings of efficacy and accomplishment.

Will teachers ever be replaced? ›

Teachers' role involves guiding, mentoring, and leading students through their course, and often through their professional lives. Teachers set the base for the future, and it can't be replaced by technology. We haven't yet seen a classroom of students where computers replace teachers.

Are teachers getting burned out? ›

In a 2022 survey conducted by the National Education Association, 55 percent of educators said that they were thinking about leaving the profession, many of them citing pandemic-related difficulties and burnout.

What state has the highest teacher shortage? ›

Georgia had the highest number of vacancies (3,112) for the 2019-2020 school year. More recently, during the 2021-2022 school year, Florida had the most vacancies with 3,911 positions unfulfilled. That same school year, Mississippi and Alabama had over 3,000 vacancies.

What stresses teachers out the most? ›

A low salary, a lack of respect from parents and a lack of a work-life balance also were high on the list.

Is teaching a high stress job? ›

Ultimately, many aspects of workplace stress stem from anxiety about being effective at work. Teachers, like many other professionals, want to be effective in their jobs and suffer from increased stress, anxiety, and depression when they know they aren't at their best or are not receiving needed support.

What is the most common mental illness in teachers? ›

High rates of depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms were observed among teachers (67%, 73%, and 86%, respectively). Among teachers who were affected by the work–family balance (89%), there was also an increased risk of symptoms of anxiety (OR: 3.2) and stress (OR: 3.5).

What does teacher burnout feel like? ›

“Signs you might be experiencing teacher burnout might include stress or feeling irritable or tired all the time. You also might be having sleep issues, like sleeping too much or experiencing insomnia from worry. You might be sad or overwhelmed when you think about teaching, or maybe you just don't enjoy it anymore.

Why do people quit teaching? ›

Teachers often cite working conditions, such as the support of their principals and the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues, as the top reason for leaving. More than 1 in 4 teachers who leave say they do so to pursue other career opportunities.

How long do most teachers last? ›

Overall, more than 44 percent of new teachers leave the profession within five years.

What percent of teachers get fired? ›

Echoing these arguments is Century Foundation senior fellow Rick Kahlenberg who recently wrote in an article for the “American Educator” — a magazine published by the AFT — that “2.1 percent of American public school teachers, including tenured teachers, were fired for cause.” This is based on data from the National ...

How do you know when to quit teaching? ›

5 Warning Signs It's Time To Quit Teaching
  1. Teaching leaves you more exhausted than it leaves you energized/excited.
  2. Your personal life is suffering due to the stress of the position.
  3. You are certain that switching grades, schools, or districts will not help you.

What percentage of teachers quit last year? ›

That's a turnover rate of 14%, up from between 11% and 12% in a typical pre-pandemic year.

When should you resign from a teaching position? ›

An at-will employee is free to resign at any time for any reason. Although two weeks' advance notice is generally considered professionally appropriate and may be a good idea for future references, it is not required.

What not to say as a teacher? ›

5 Things Teachers Should Never Say
  • “I Don't Care If My Students Like Me.” ...
  • “You Are Just Lazy.” ...
  • “That's a Stupid Question!” ...
  • “I've Already Gone Over That. ...
  • Be in a Compromising Situation With a Student. ...
  • Talk About Another Teacher. ...
  • Put a Student Down. ...
  • Ignore Parental Concerns.
Jun 17, 2019

What do teachers like the most? ›

Teachers love sincere messages of thanks and appreciation. One teacher says, “I love notes from students and parents. I keep them in a folder so I can read them when I have a difficult day. They help keep me positive.” Others noted they enjoy gifts that students are involved in.

What teachers can't live without? ›

Top Ten Items Teachers Can't Live Without
  • Magnetic Ceiling Hooks. Let's face it. ...
  • Hall Passes. Continuing down our de-cluttered path, consider Magnetic Hall Passes this year. ...
  • School Signs Magnet Set. ...
  • DIY Magnets. ...
  • Magnetic Dry-Erase Lapboards. ...
  • Display Magnets. ...
  • Caution Do Not Erase Magnet Set. ...
  • Magnetic Erasers.

Why is the number of teachers declining? ›

Notably, the research team also isolated eight possible contributing influences on these trends—education funding, teacher compensation, changing labor market opportunities, teacher unionism (restrictions preventing teachers from unionizing as well as changing collective bargaining strategies), barriers to entering the ...

How real is the teacher shortage? ›

It's a "crisis" in many districts. Others have more success filling positions. More than three-quarters of U.S. states are experiencing a teacher shortage, highlighting a growing concern among public education and government officials about issues that were exacerbated during three years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is it worth becoming a teacher now? ›

One of the best things about being a teacher is that you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on students' lives. You can help them learn and grow, both academically and personally. Seeing students succeed — whether in the classroom or in life — is one of the most gratifying experiences a teacher can have.

Why is teaching so hard right now? ›

Teaching is arguably more difficult now than it has ever been for a variety of reasons, including learner behavior, fast-changing technology, and poor compensation. This essay will look at some of the reasons why teaching has become such a difficult profession.

Is it hard for a teacher to get fired? ›

It's remarkably difficult to fire a tenured public school teacher in California, a Times investigation has found. The path can be laborious and labyrinthine, in some cases involving years of investigation, union grievances, administrative appeals, court challenges and re-hearings.

How many teachers quit in 2023? ›

In February 2023, about 58,000 teachers and other educational staff quit their jobs in the United States. The number of quits among staff in the educational services industry reached its highest point since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2022.

Which state pays teachers the least? ›

The average salary for teachers was $49,583 in Florida—the second lowest in the country after Mississippi. All other occupations averaged $51,950, a 4.6 percent difference.

Which state has the best teacher? ›

Here Are the Best States for Teachers In 2023:
  1. Maryland. Maryland. Total Teacher Jobs: ...
  2. Connecticut. Connecticut. Total Teacher Jobs: ...
  3. New York. New York. Total Teacher Jobs: ...
  4. District of Columbia. District of Columbia. Total Teacher Jobs: ...
  5. Illinois. Illinois. ...
  6. Massachusetts. Massachusetts. ...
  7. Michigan. Michigan. ...
  8. New Jersey. New Jersey.
Apr 6, 2021

What states really need teachers? ›

According to U.S. Department of Education data from the 2022-2023 school year, Maine is experiencing the most teacher vacancies in special education, math, science, language arts, early childhood, elementary core subjects, art and music, and career and technical education.

Why teacher is the most stressful job? ›

Teachers work longer hours than many other positions, which often leads to burnout and stress. Some of the many contributing factors are lack of resources, work-life balance and political issues.

What frustrates teachers the most in a classroom? ›

Read on for my solutions to some of the common frustrations of teaching.
  • Frustration 1: Students arriving late.
  • Frustration 2: Phones in class.
  • Frustration 3: Students speaking in L1.
  • Frustration 4: The dreaded silence.
  • Frustration 5: Mixed-ability groups.
  • Frustration 6: Being observed.
Aug 10, 2020

What are the signs of stress in teachers? ›

Evidence of this may be frustration and irritability, mood swings, impaired concentration, chronic fatigue and insomnia as well as physical symptoms such as increased illness, palpitations, gastrointestinal pain, headaches and dizziness.

What are disadvantages of being a teacher? ›

6 cons of being a teacher
  • Breaks without pay. Although some districts may follow a year-round schedule, most districts use a schedule that provides students and teachers with summers off for breaks. ...
  • Budgetary challenges. ...
  • Professional development days. ...
  • Varied learning styles. ...
  • Workload. ...
  • Student performance evaluation.
Mar 30, 2023

What profession that is very stressful? ›

People who encounter life-threatening situations in their day-to-day work like first responders (law enforcement personnel, firefighters, mental health responders like social workers and paramedics), or military personnel are at risk of trauma from their stressful jobs.

Is teaching an emotional job? ›

Because teaching is emotionally demanding, teachers experience what is known as “emotional labour”.

What is the most commonly experienced mental illness? ›

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 1 in every 5 Americans is currently living with a mental illness. Of those, the three most common diagnoses are anxiety disorders, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What is the most common disorder in schools? ›

About Children's Mental Health

If symptoms are severe and persistent and interfere with school, home, or play activities, the child may be diagnosed with a mental disorder. Among the more common mental disorders that can be diagnosed in childhood are ADHD, anxiety, and behavior disorders, such as ODD.

What is the number one most common mental illness? ›

Depression. Impacting an estimated 300 million people, depression is the most-common mental disorder and generally affects women more often than men.

Why is teacher burnout so high? ›

Teaching is a rewarding yet demanding career. With long hours and a heavy workload, it's easy to fall prey to teacher burnout. Without proper support, teachers are in danger of being overworked and not taking care of their own mental and physical health needs.

Why are teachers so tired all the time? ›

One of the reasons that teachers feel so worn out is because of decision fatigue. Research has found that teachers make more minute-by-minute decisions than brain surgeons, and that's extremely tiring.

Can teachers get PTSD? ›

One of the mental health conditions teachers are often diagnosed with is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Which of the following is a symptom of teacher burn out? ›

A teacher experiencing burnout may feel increased irritability with colleagues and students, anxious, restless, depressed, or disconnected.

What is making teachers quit? ›

Other factors impacting teacher retention include heavy workload, low pay and escalating living costs, with some 80% of survey respondents saying it was difficult to find affordable housing close to where they teach. Many also cited a lack of support from district administrators.

Why are teachers leaving the industry? ›

The top three factors causing teachers in the state to consider leaving are burnout (57%), political and ideological attacks (40%), as well as staff shortages and having too many responsibilities (32%).

How many teachers quit because of pay? ›

According to the poll, 26% of educators who quit their last job cited low pay or lack of benefits as a reason why they left, compared to 19% of workers in all industries who resigned because of meager pay and benefits.

What are your primary reasons for leaving? ›

Good Reasons for Leaving
  • Career change. It is common for employees to move between jobs and careers during their working life as they try to find jobs where they can develop and grow their skills. ...
  • Looking for career growth. ...
  • Organizational restructuring. ...
  • Better opportunity. ...
  • Health reasons. ...
  • Breaking the law. ...
  • Terrible boss.
Mar 4, 2023

What is the teacher burnout rate in 2023? ›

Teacher Burnout Statistics: Top Picks

44% of the k-12 teachers reported that they are burned out as of 2023. However, the burnout percentage of teachers in the year 2022 was only 36%.

How long do new teachers last? ›

Overall, more than 44 percent of new teachers leave the profession within five years.

Why do people leave teaching? ›

Teachers often cite working conditions, such as the support of their principals and the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues, as the top reason for leaving. More than 1 in 4 teachers who leave say they do so to pursue other career opportunities.

What is the average salary for teachers in the US? ›

The average Public School Teacher salary in the United States is $56,483 as of May 01, 2023, but the range typically falls between $47,169 and $68,884.

Why should we hire you? ›

“I should be hired for this role because of my relevant skills, experience, and passion for the industry. I've researched the company and can add value to its growth. My positive attitude, work ethics, and long-term goals align with the job requirements, making me a committed and valuable asset to the company.”

Why top talent leave their jobs? ›


This will leverage their creativity and drive in service of the organization. Some of the processes that cause top talent to leave are: When a company hires/promotes the wrong person: A top performer wants to be around other top performers.


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