Rachel and Dave worry for the ‘future of the nation’ without teachers

Feb 4, 2022, 12:42 PM
Nicole Brown, a second grade teacher, starts class at an elementary school in Kentucky on Jan. 24, 2022. (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

A record number of teachers across the United States are leaving the classroom — no, they’re not on strike; they’re off to greener pastures because they found better jobs.

The Great Resignation: Seattle workers prioritize respect, work-life balance over money

For parents who thought it was challenging to have their kids home for most of the pandemic doing online schooling, ask a teacher how it has been for them, says KIRO Newsradio’s Rachel Belle.

“The Wall Street Journal published an article about how teachers are just exhausted from toggling between online and classroom instruction, and then all the changing protocols with COVID, plus parents, administrators, and students, their frustrations being taken out on the teachers,” Rachel said.

So, a lot of them are leaving.

“Federal data says that the rate of people quitting jobs in private education services specifically rose more than any other industry in 2021, even more than retail,” Rachel told Seattle’s Morning News.

A lot of these former teachers are going into sales, software, health care — “places where they can do training, but with adults,” Rachel noted.

The article featured a 31-year-old Tennessee kindergarten teacher. She said she knew she needed to get a new job when she had trouble getting out of the car each morning when she would pull up at school.

“So she was thinking about graphic design,” Rachel shared. “She taught herself the Adobe suite of design programs, and she got a new job where she gets to work from home, spend more time with her daughter. She says she did get a raise.”

But, Rachel added, just like the people featured in story she published on what’s being called “The Great Resignation,” many who have chosen to leave their jobs say they would take a pay cut to do it.

“My happiness was worth more” was a common statement, Rachel said.

“So, again, it’s a case where people’s mental health is important. Of course, there’s a lot of people who want to make more money — teachers are not known for making much — but it’s quality of life,” she said.

How should Washington parents handle being asked to step in as substitute teachers?

Dave Ross said money, at least in Washington state, for teachers has improved a little, but he imagines the pressure of “being on your game, in front of a class” all day is pretty substantial.

Rachel says the WSJ article also spoke about how a lot of teachers consider their job a calling — they aren’t doing it for the money or because it’s going to be a high-paying job.

“You love these kids, you want to help them,” she said, but the everyday stress builds up, and the pandemic has only made it all more challenging.

“Something will have to be done because you can’t afford to have schools without teachers,” Dave said. “The future of the nation is at stake here.”

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Rachel and Dave worry for the ‘future of the nation’ without teachers