More than half of teachers are thinking of leaving their classrooms, NEA survey reports

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That num­ber is up from 28% in the sum­mer of 2020, accord­ing to the sur­vey.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Cheek­towa­ga career coach Cathy Lan­za­la­co did­n’t have any teach­ers ask­ing for resume or job inter­view help up until three months ago. 

“Now I have many of them all over the coun­try and here in West­ern New York, I have five or six that I’m active­ly work­ing with,” Lan­za­la­co said.

All of them told her they want to leave because of low pay, not feel­ing sup­port­ed, increas­ing vio­lence, pre­vi­ous COVID man­dates mak­ing it hard to teach and unman­age­able work­loads.

“So teach­ers at all lev­els are find­ing oth­er oppor­tu­ni­ties that did­n’t exist before,” she said. 

The Nation­al Edu­ca­tion Asso­ci­a­tion did a sur­vey ask­ing edu­ca­tors if they are think­ing about leav­ing or retir­ing from the indus­try soon­er than they had planned. 

This Jan­u­ary, 55″ of teach­ers said “yes.” That’s up from just 28% in July of 2020.

In New York State, it’s most­ly retire­ments.  

“Right now, we’re expe­ri­enc­ing all the folks who were hired 20, 30 years ago and they’re now retir­ing (in mass amounts),” said Buf­fa­lo State Dean of Edu­ca­tion Wendy Pater­son. 

Over at Buf­fa­lo State, Pater­son says there’s been a slight decrease in edu­ca­tion majors this year, but they’re also notic­ing a very dif­fer­ent trend.

“We are also see­ing strong enroll­ments from career chang­ers, return­ing adults, from folks who are not the 18–21-year-olds,” Pater­son said. 

A lot of them are in their 30s and 40s, and were pre­vi­ous­ly lawyers, engi­neers and doc­tors. 

Last month, the state also made get­ting cer­ti­fied a bit eas­i­er by drop­ping a per­for­mance assess­ment test that was 80 pages long and cost stu­dents $300.

“We do know that some peo­ple left the state because that’s not required in oth­er states,” Pater­son said. 

Buf­fa­lo State is also hop­ing to diver­si­fy the teacher work­force by expand­ing an urban teacher acad­e­my they began at McKin­ley High School to two more schools with­in the year. 

Still, some wor­ry about the state of edu­ca­tion through­out the entire coun­try with many think­ing about leav­ing.  

“It’s a real­ly dif­fi­cult time. I think the key is the col­lab­o­ra­tion between the par­ents and the admin­is­tra­tion and the teach­ers. If we can get that in align­ment, I think the sit­u­a­tion will improve,” Lan­za­la­co said. 

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