At 13 years old all she wanted to be was a teacher! She sat in the front of my classroom, paid attention and excelled at all she did. As she advanced through high school she would return to teachers’ classrooms to assist and learn the craft. In college she remained in constant contact with her former teachers for advice and wisdom. After graduating with honors, she worked as a guest teacher in hopes of fulfilling her life long dream of being a classroom teacher. All her hard work paid off, two years ago she secured a teaching job in a district neighboring the one she attended. Her teachers could not have been more proud, she has the skills, passion and patience to be one of the best teachers. We all saw it in her when she was 13.
Last week she quit, making a tough life decision to end her dream job for greener pastures in the mortgage industry. I cried when I read her Facebook post. Having observed her in action as a guest teacher in our building, she was great in front of students. She described the decision as one of the hardest in her young life. The decision was not a financial one. “No matter how hard I tried, how much time I committed I never felt like a was successful and feel I always needed to do more.” She was clearly sad to leave the profession but stated “the stress has been causing health problems”. The comments below her Facebook post were supportive. Other teachers shared their job stresses, many expressed their desires to leave the classroom to find a “more supportive career.
Sadly this story is all to common in 2016. While politicians use education as a key talking point on the campaign trail, fewer students are going into the education field. Current teachers feel they are being forced out by job stress and testing. The research based practices teachers learned about in college give way to budget cuts and time constraints. Most districts around the country struggle to find guest teachers, leaving classroom teachers to lose their valuable prep time to cover other classes. In most fields if these situations were occurring, pay would go up to improve them. Instead most teachers have seen their take home pay slowly go down, with increases in insurance costs and pension contributions.
It is time to make education and educators a priority! Otherwise education will continue to loose the best and the brightest! I am greatly saddened to see so many flocking away from this great profession!