In 2021, 25% of current teachers reported they are thinking of leaving the profession.Bloomberg.com
If the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us anything at all, it is that everything is fleeting. It can be here today and gone tomorrow, just like that. Systems and infrastructures that were so carefully planned and monitored proved to be the exact opposite. Looking across various industries we see where this has rang true. In the tech and auto industries, the current chip shortage has slowed the production of new vehicles and smartphones. The shipping and supply issues caused by the decrease in the workforce has raised prices and added to the scarcity of items available in stores.
Education has been hard hit as well. The closure of schools worldwide ignited a move toward digital classrooms. Words like synchronous and asynchronous became part of our everyday vocabulary. Remote learning, distance learning, hybrid or whatever term your district decided to use became our way of life before we knew it. Then masks became the new normal. Not only did you have to make sure little Johnny was paying attention, you also had to make sure he had on his mask. I remember the days of clear plastic shower curtains used as protection in the classroom. The anxiety and confusion these things added to the teaching profession has taken its toll on the field of education.
In a recent article on Bloomberg, it was found in 2021 that 25% of current teachers were considering leaving the profession. Many of the largest school districts in the country have dealt with threats of strikes and going virtual due to rising numbers after COVID variants were discovered. Then there are the staffing shortages. While teachers are out to deal with the sicknesses of their family members or their own, schools are scrambling to find substitutes. Ask your teacher friends and they’ll tell you about being asked to cover classes for colleagues daily. COVID has made working in a school setting dangerous and many would be substitutes are staying away. One local district is now offering substitute positions to applicants with just a high school diploma.
If our educational system is going to survive this pandemic, change needs to happen, immediately! First, the thoughts and opinions of those on the front lines needs to be heard and appreciated. Decisions are being made that directly affect classroom teachers without getting their take on it. Another concern is that seeing all that has happened over the last couple of years will deter young hopefuls from entering the profession. What are your thoughts about the field of education?