Teacher Flight, Shortages and Strikes Could Be Coming This Year

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Today we are taking a look at the epidemic of what has been coined “Teacher Flight” and the direct effects it could have on your family and your child’s quality of education in the coming school year and beyond.

Below you will find the full show notes and reference list for Episode 16 of The State of Education Podcast, presented by One-Room Education, along with links to the resources mentioned in this episode.

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Question of the Week:

Parents: What is your favorite way to show your school’s teachers that you actually support them?

Teachers: What is the best way for parents and community members to support you and your classroom?

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Teacher Fight, Shortages and Strikes Could Be Coming This Year

Show Notes

Welcome back to The State of Education podcast, presented by One-Room Education.

Today we are taking a look at the epidemic of what has been coined “Teacher Flight” and the direct effects it could have on your family and your child’s quality of education in the coming school year and beyond.

In today’s episode we’ll be discussing:

  • What “Teacher Flight” is and why it’s happening.
  • The plight of the public school teachers.
  • What Teachers’ Unions are doing about it.

The Ever Expanding Roles of Teachers

The hypocrisy that lives within the modern role of a teacher is blatant and set up for failure from the start.

Teachers are relied on to be so much more than educators today.

Katie J., The State of Education podcast, Episode 16. 2022.

We implement and enforce social mores and values that create an environment conducive to learning.

Katie J., The State of Education podcast, Episode 16. 2022.

But we’re also supposed to not do any of that while we’re doing that and only help them become critical thinkers; but they can’t be too critical of thinkers because they still have to pass the standardized tests.

Katie J., The State of Education podcast, Episode 16. 2022.

The Mental Health Crisis and Teacher Flight

With pressure mounting on teachers from all sides and the COVID lockdowns possibly returning for the new school year, many teachers are having sever anxiety attaches throughout the day. This anxiety eventually reaches a breaking point, leaving teachers to decide if the job they once loved is still worth the emotional impact on them.

Teachers, with heavy hearts, are leaving classes behind, increasingly mid-year with little to no notice for the district. There are even stories out there that you can find of teachers leaving their classes mid-day and not coming back because they simply can’t take the emotional abuse from students, parents and staff anymore.

These teachers leaving en masse are causing a phenomena known as Teacher Flight within the professional education field.

It is leaving staff overworked, often with no breaks throughout the day and students losing valuable instruction time due to the lack of new teachers and substitutes coming into the profession.

On top of all of this, teachers are struggling to make ends meat on their often extremely small salaries.

Almost every other profession that expects their employees to come into a high pressure environment and take abuse from people all day offer pay incentives to keep people there. If you’re going to get yelled at all day, at least they could say the pay is good; but not teachers!

The Teachers’ Unions and Their Lack of Meaningful Action

Raising salaries and getting more support staff doesn’t actually help with core problems within the education system that are causing teachers to flee en masse.

The real issues that teachers are facing tend to include feeling lack of support form their administrations and a feeling of being totally overwhelmed with their ever expanding job duties.

Teachers need less students in their classrooms, not more support staff and administerial oversight. But that’s not what the unions are fighting for. They are focusing on Critical Theory issues.

What it’s Really Like in the Classrooms Today

Why are so many teachers at their breaking point? COVID-19 has not only caused anxiety and fears among teachers for their own health and that of their families; they are also facing increased responsibility. Planning periods have been replaced with coverage periods, where teachers have to teach other classes when their colleagues are out—often due to illness—because the supply of substitute teachers cannot meet the demand. This means most, if not all, planning must be done outside of the school day. 

Ms. Magazine

Aside from a passion and a true calling to this kind of work, there’s no incentive to stay in it.

Katie J., The State of Education podcast, Episode 16. 2022.

The Best Way to Support the Overextended Teacher

  1. Volunteer to go in one day a week.
    • Clean the classroom, set up for the next day
    • It doesn’t have to be during school hours, just when you have time.
  2. Send the teacher an email thanking them for their work with your student.
    • Let them know that you see them and appreciate them if they are doing a good job.
    • All teachers need feedback from their students and parents, not just elementary, but secondary as well.

The education system itself is FUBAR, but we as individuals can work together with our local educators to help our children have the best education possible. You never know, you’re help that one day or kind words might just be what gives that teacher enough hope to stick around.

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