Anger, Low Pay and 'Immense Strain': Why So Many Teachers Are Quitting
America's teachers are fed up. As the Great Resignation continues in full swing, teachers who quit their jobs are particularly likely to feel angry and blame low pay and the pandemic when they leave the classroom behind.
A new survey from job search platform Joblist explores why so many workers are quitting, and one of the big takeaways is that many teachers in the U.S. feel unhappy and underappreciated.
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.
Joblist also found that while less than 1 in 4 of those who recently quit reported feeling angry with their employers, teachers were particularly full of rage. Some 30% of teachers felt “angry” or “very angry” with their employers when they decided to quit — second only to hospitality workers, 34% of whom reported feelings of anger.
Then there's the pandemic, which has affected virtually all workers but has clearly had an outsized impact on teachers.
The pandemic is driving teachers to quit jobs
A poll conducted in January by the National Education Association (NEA), a teacher's union with more than 3 million members, found that 55% of educators said they plan to leave the profession sooner than they originally planned because of the pandemic. Last August, that number was 37%.
“After persevering through the hardest school years in memory, America’s educators are exhausted and increasingly burned out,” NEA president Becky Pringle said in a statement. “This is a five-alarm crisis.”
A Wall Street Journal analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that as of November, the number of people quitting work in educational services (which includes teachers) had grown faster than in any other industry. According to the BLS, 182,000 people quit their jobs in public education in February of this year, up from 138,000 the same month in 2021.
It's not a coincidence. Teachers who left their jobs are saying that the pandemic played a role in why they resigned. Of the teachers in the Joblist survey who quit recently, 40% said the pandemic influenced their decision to leave. That's the highest portion of any category of workers to point to the pandemic as a reason for quitting. It's even higher than healthcare workers (34%), and significantly higher than the average across industries of roughly 25%.
The high proportion of teachers and healthcare workers blaming the pandemic for why they quit is "unsurprising given the immense strain that the pandemic has had on healthcare and school systems everywhere," the Joblist report stated.
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