How to Be a More Creative Teacher - Student Research Foundation

Why Teachers Have Quit the Profession during the Pandemic

 . . . and What Could Bring Them Back

Teaching, like any profession you can name, isn’t for everyone. At some point a certain number of teachers – just like a certain number of physicians, car salespeople, and store owners – decide to make a change.

That was happening before Covid-19 because of burnout, financial pressures, lack of opportunities for advancement, and other issues. Then the pandemic came along, and some teachers found new reasons to leave.

What are those new reasons? “Pandemic drives new and seasoned teachers from the profession,” an article that Megan Cerullo wrote for CBS News, does a very good job of pinpointing what some of these new reasons are:

  • The traditional drawbacks of teaching began to look even worse. The pandemic suddenly made two traditional disadvantages of teaching – low pay and high stress – seem even more acute.
  • Feelings of insecurity increased. Some teachers find it too difficult to be uncertain about what next school year will bring.
  • Parenting took on greater importance. Some teachers who were teaching at home during the pandemic have decided to stay there instead of returning to the classroom.
  • Retirement suddenly looked more attractive. Some teachers opted to take it early.
  • The pandemic caused some teachers to focus more on chronic health concerns. After working at home to protect themselves from becoming ill, some teachers have decided to continue to do it.
  • Teachers who have grown frustrated with the technology needed to teach from home have experienced increased feelings of burnout.
  • Concerns about romantic/love relationships. Some teachers who have worked at home alongside partners or spouses have discovered that their relationships need work and have become more determined to make them a priority.

What Can Bring Departing Teachers Back into the Profession?

“Solving the Teacher Shortage: How to Attract and Retain Excellent Teachers,” a report from the Learning Policy Institute, was published back in 2016. Yet the incentives it outlines for keeping teachers in the profession – or getting departed teachers to return – still seem relevant today:

  • Increase the number of available teaching positions
  • Maintain and support retirement benefits
  • Increase salaries
  • Reduce the cost of renewing certifications
  • Promote certification reciprocity among states
  • Increase the number of available part-time teaching jobs
  • Forgive student loans
  • Provide housing incentives

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