I have watched videos, read letters, and listened to testimonies from educators who have quit. Media outlets relentlessly lament the fact that teachers are quitting in droves.
I understand the "why" of quitting, except for the "no chance for advancement" part, as if being a classroom teacher is the bottom of the barrel and you have to work your way up from there. But let's leave that to another post, shall we?
Conditions are horrible for teachers. They were horrible before the pandemic, and they are
horribler, even more horrible now. I read the stories and posts of educators in the field. I am fortunate to work in a district that pretty much treats us as human and professionals. Not saying there isn't work to be done, but the things I deal with pale in comparison to the stories I have heard or read.
Educators being forced to teach remotely from the building, (ridiculous!), little pay, long hours, (Yes, there is a choice, but then to stay sane, you kinda don't), disrespect from kids, parents, admin, the school board, the media, the list is endless. The idea that educators are ALL things, babysitters, pyschologists, custodians, mental health counselors, oh yeah, and teachers. There is no way this cannot weigh on a person.
A daily parade of wants and needs, dumped on their shoulders. Educators are given instructions and platitudes, from people who have not been inside a classroom for years, or have never been in one. #SELFCARE, the buzzword that is carelessly tossed about, as educators flounder beneath the weight of all that is placed on them.
Care for self? When? How? Where? There is a teacher shortage, substitutes can't be found, and colleagues "hate you" because you take a day.
With all this, I truly understand the "why."
But what happens to our students if we all quit?
I know. That's their problem, right? They should have treated us right while we were there. Too bad,so sad.
But here's a thought. Let's not forget the educators who have not quit. The ones who have decided to stay.
Maybe they haven't quit because of their dedication to the profession.
Maybe they haven't quit because they enjoy teaching.
Maybe they haven't quit because they worry about what would happen to their students without them.
Maybe they haven't quit because they need their job, their benefits, the summer months off.
The majority of them are there, fighting the good fight, educating our youth. We need to work on doing better for those still in the trenches. How about we focus on those who are still in the classroom?
We know every teacher, everywhere, is not going to quit en masse. But, the conditions under which they work have got to be improved! You want to keep them?
Think about all the reasons educators quit. Use those reasons to work on finding solutions that will keep the ones who are still there.
Because think about it. What if...we all quit?