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heartmyjob heartmyjob is offline
 
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Is everyone leaving teaching?
Old 05-31-2019, 03:44 PM
 
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I work in a great district in Tennessee. My school has over 12 vacancies right now. In fact, almost every school in our district has at least 3 openings. Middle and high schools have the most. This is unheard of for such a great county.

Iím about to start year 15 and I donít plan on going anywhere. I make decent money and love the students. I hope to stay in education in some capacity for the next 15 years.

Is this teacher shortage happening all over? It seems like more people are getting out than coming in.


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Old 05-31-2019, 04:00 PM
 
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In Fla, it is money(insurance costs) and the insanity of the testing and standards and paper work among other things. I left last year but i had done 40 yrs.
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Old 05-31-2019, 04:12 PM
 
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When you factor in the cost of living increases, teacher salaries are declining. It isn't wise to stay in the profession is the thought for most of us.
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Old 05-31-2019, 05:22 PM
 
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I agree with others that money and working conditions are driving teachers away. Great districts don't really lose many people but there seem to be waves or retirements every couple of years. However, classroom positions at all levels often have 150 applications and up to 300 in desirable districts/schools. Also, I find that there are many more non-renewed contracts than there were 10 years ago. They used at least try to help new teachers get their bearings, but now they just fire teachers who have potential but may be a bit green.

To be honest, I encourage young people to pursue Speech-Language, OT, PT, clinical or counseling psych. Anything that gives them the option to work outside the school setting. I truly regret not choosing SLP. If I can find a cheap accelerated program for education professionals, I will do it.
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Old 05-31-2019, 05:25 PM
 
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In TN too as well. A little while ago, I figure out that the teacher shortage they talk about is not real. There are plenty of teachers out there who quit within the first few years. They keep on repeating the shortage lie because it is all about politics. Who in their right mind wants to go in a profession where others are frankly running away from. So, they phrase it teacher shortage:it is less threatening/alarming.

Also, I recently read an article about black teachers not leaving profession but hoping districts instead as if this is good news. Those Black teachers hoping from one district to the next is because they are trapped. Not everyone has the money to get a different degree or networking in another field. They are trapped as countless others trying to find a school where they can be happy.

As for me, yes I would like to get out. But, it is not because of teaching, I like teaching and I can do it well, I like students too. The way administration are running the schools, the way teachers are not united, they way we are expected to work after hours and not get compensated, the way we waste so many resources but yet we still don't have. Also, all of the extra duties, rules and additional technology, we have to learn take a massive amount of my time that I will never get back. I also hated the backstabbers teachers but that is for another discussion. The grade inflation, the attendance fudging, the mandated staff meetings, the expectation that I have to buy class supplies. Now add to that, yearly PDP hours to renew your license and non parental support or administration for referrals. The enormous lack of support!


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Old 05-31-2019, 07:41 PM
 
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Well, I'm not in TN, so I'm sure things are different. We had an unprecedented number of people leave this year because they were leaving the profession rather than leaving for another school- early retirements or hopping to other careers.

The COL has exploded in my area, particularly for housing, and teacher's salaries have not kept up one bit. I am currently looking at buying a condo, and the only reason I am in any position to do so is because I inherited my down payment. I am looking at the "low end" and places are around $300K at the absolute cheapest. 5 years ago, these same places were selling for maybe $125K. It makes me sick looking at the previous sale history.

Right now, there is a segment of older teachers who already had houses before all of this happened and are doing fine. Once these people start retiring, there has to be a massive shortage. Who in their right mind would go into teaching in my area??

Nearby colleges are reporting their numbers have dropped by at least 50% in education programs. Education majors may be naive about the disrespect, severe behaviors all day long, obsession with nothing but testing/data, etc. but even they can figure out it doesn't make sense to major in something that isn't going to provide you with a living wage upon graduation.

For positions like elementary classroom teachers, we still get plenty of applicants, it's just not as many as admin would like to choose from. It's maybe 25 when it used to be 300. But for other harder to fill positions, it's certainly becoming a problem. We've had a school psych position posted for months and got a whopping 2 applicants, both from out of state. One was offered the job and ended up turning it down. I wondered if it was because she started looking at apartments and realized she couldn't afford rent on her salary.

We have certain tax laws in place in my state that make funding education impossible. Yet many people still cry, "It's the unions!" (we've always been a right to work state) or "If those older teachers are going to complain, fire them all and let new grads who want to do the work in." IDK what would have to happen for people to actually get it. Those who don't have kids in school probably never will.

I honestly worry about being able to make it through an entire career before teaching becomes 100% privatized with charter schools. These schools will get their teachers from TFA-like programs where they will get people who will work insane 24/7 hours for the privilege of building their resume for a couple of years to launch them into their "real" career. I 100% believe that unless there are massive changes, we could get to a point where teaching is no longer a professional long term career.
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Old 05-31-2019, 08:42 PM
 
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Here in Pennsylvania there is a shortage of substitutes but not applicants for contracted positions. Just today there were over 30 unfilled absences in Aesop (Iím in 6 districts). I had an interview at 9 am and wanted to see if any of my late start schools had any openings I was interested in.

Most of the teacher shortages in Pennsylvania are the central part of the state and across the top. The two big cities; Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and surrounding counties have no trouble attracting teacher candidates.

Math, science, and special education are the areas with the fewest applicants. With a math or science degree someone can make 2 or 3 times what they might make teaching and special Ed teachers have the always increasing amount of paperwork and meetings to deal with.
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Old 06-01-2019, 03:51 AM
 
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I'm in Tennessee too. My (fairly large) district has a lot of vacancies right now too, despite the fact that we are opening a new school next year.

We are really struggling to find high school math and science teachers. One of our high schools has had a math position posted since January. We still have a lot of applicants for elementary positions, but I've heard one of the middle school principals complain that the "pickings are slim."

I am seeing an uptick of teachers resigning. We had two teachers resign at the end of the year, one had 18 years experience and the other had 6. Plus, teachers are retiring as soon as they are eligible.
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Old 06-01-2019, 05:04 AM
 
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I won't list my location in order to keep from outing myself. My local, large public district has 370 instructional openings (I just looked). That doesn't seem too bad; I've seen it higher than that in previous years, up to 500. But then, the summer is still young, so it wouldn't surprise me if the number increased.

I think living costs are a huge issue. House prices and apartment rents are astronomical here. Plus, we have a lot of businesses in the area (banks and financial firms) that pay way better. So people who can probably work there instead. I also think teachers move to one of the outlying suburban counties--cheaper living, same base pay (state dictates it). Stress is an issue. In our urban district, behavior is rough, socioeconomic challenges are huge, and the pressure to get grades and graduation rates up is awful.

My DS would be a fabulous primary-grade teacher. I've advised him not to go into it. He would never earn enough to live comfortably. The only way I can continue is that I have retirement plans from other employers, and my DH earns somewhat more than I do and has good retirement plans as well. But we have to scrape sometimes...
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Leaving teaching
Old 06-01-2019, 05:19 AM
 
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I never encouraged our children to enter the teaching profession, sadly. They all make more money than I ever dreamed possible plus have very flexible jobs to attend to their families. Plus they have DH and myself for ďemergenciesĒ. I see much less stress in their lives than that of an educator. Makes me sad to say this out loud but it is true. I feel my last five years, the stress could have literally killed me if I did not leave. My first 20 or so years were not as stressful!


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Old 06-01-2019, 05:27 AM
 
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A lot are leaving it in my area but it's due to the administration rather than the field itself. Their focus is too strong on the state test and morale is at an all-time low, even though we're a high-performing school. Admin did a major shuffle of the grades teachers are teaching this year - and told them after school was dismissed. We have a lot retiring earlier than they planned and others changing schools or staying home with their own children.

I wouldn't call it a shortage here - there are still plenty who are coming out of college looking for jobs.

We had 9 leave this year, and 9 more came in (school size of about 30 teachers). It's the most I've seen leave since I've been teaching - 20 years.
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Old 06-01-2019, 06:15 AM
 
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I can't speak to what exactly is happening in Tennessee, but from everything I've read, teachers are, indeed, leaving the profession in record numbers all over the country and it's becoming increasingly difficult for colleges to attract qualified applicants to their education programs. In this particular state (Wisconsin) it depends a lot on where in the state a school is located and what type of teacher they are looking for but some positions can easily go unfilled for an entire year or more. And while there are still some very talented young people coming out of colleges into the teaching workforce, there are also a fair number of very recent graduates who simply would not have been accepted into teaching programs 10 years ago and who would have never been able to complete the ridiculous licensure requirements expected of young teachers five years ago. Added to that, a state that used to be very competitive in terms of teacher salary, benefits and working conditions is now pretty far down the list of best places to teach. Many Wisconsin teachers who chose to stay in the profession, moved to Illinois or Minnesota.

In my humble opinion, what is driving people away from the teaching profession faster than anything else is the way education is used as a political football. It's the fact that politicians insist on using teacher-bashing and public school bashing as a campaign strategy. It's the fact that some politicians have an agenda that includes destroying the public school system and privatizing education.

I didn't encourage my own child to go into teaching and when students ask me about it I always say: "Only go into teaching if a) you know for sure that your income will not be the primary income for your family b) you think you will love it enough that you would do it for free and c) you have a lot of self-confidence and a thick skin when it comes to criticism."
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Old 06-01-2019, 07:10 AM
 
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I have a very close friend who interviews prospective teachers to hire for our district. She insists that in recent years the number of applicants has significantly reduced. Colleges in our state have a reduced number of students who major in education. Our district is desperate to hire as soon as possible because the pool is so limited. There is a teaching shortage in our area due to a decrease in applicants.
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My question now...
Old 06-01-2019, 12:40 PM
 
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So with supply decreasing in most boards, will they ever consider increasing our salary and benefits to either keep us from leaving or to attract potential applicants?
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I love your enthusiasm!
Old 06-01-2019, 01:14 PM
 
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I hope you always love your job and want to stay in the profession. Education and our students need people like you!

I taught in a suburban district for 30 years. We generally have no problems right now finding qualified candidates, but that could change. We have an unstable pension fund thanks to previous governors raiding the fund for their own special interests and/or to balance the budget and we have high pension contributions from the employees while the state still is not covering its share and supported by the legal system, unfortunately. We have to contribute significantly to our health care, and raises and any negotiated relief is not coming close to matching that. There is a lot of testing and data collection, like there is elsewhere, and the hours one must put into the job just to stay afloat have increased exponentially. All of the fun is being sucked out of it as is the creativity. People are constantly being coached and told what to do by administration It is draining.

People struggle with working multiple jobs and not being able to afford the high cost of living. In my group of friends, most of us retired a bit sooner than we had thought because of those reasons, and a lot of the younger teachers would love to get out. It is difficult to devote all this time to the job and have the demands of a family without adding to the stress.
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Not me
Old 06-01-2019, 03:27 PM
 
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I think it is a great vocation.
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Old 06-01-2019, 06:13 PM
 
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We haven't had too many leaving the profession, BUT I have noticed something about the new teachers coming in:

We have 7 beginning teachers on staff. Only 2 went through a traditional path (high school, 4 year college, education major, student teaching, got a job). The other 5 came to teaching as a second career, through subbing, lateral entry, etc. They are all fabulous people and work their butts off, but those who came in through alternative routes have had a much harder time finding their way. If less and less people are coming in through traditional paths, I worry that the stress levels will lead to even more people leaving.
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:47 PM
 
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I think it evens out in the end but some are joining, others are leaving, it is a difficult profession and sometimes we feel that we aren't appreciated for what we do.
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Old 06-02-2019, 01:18 PM
 
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I'm not surprised that numbers are declining, and expect that will continue. I'm sure everyone has their own reasons, but these are why I didn't encourage my own son to go into teaching (even though he's great with kids) -

1) I don't like the direction education is going. We're pushing kids to do more advanced academics earlier and earlier, at the expense of practical skills. We're testing them to death, and I'm afraid it's going to get worse.

2) Children's attitudes have changed. The respect for teachers (and adults in general) just isn't what it used to be. And respect from parents is declining as well.

3)The money just isn't there. Sadly, teaching isn't a career young people can expect to support a family on anymore. It's a good "secondary earner" job if you love it, but I think it's become impractical for a lot of people.
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Old 06-03-2019, 05:43 AM
 
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So hence the million dollar question is:

What are those getting out of teaching DOING? Especially if they don't want to start all over and go back to school, etc.?

FYI: SLP isn't an easy field and very competitive...it's like medical school focusing on a very specific part of the body. They have this anatomy class that's killer as well as a few other hairy classes that make you wonder if you got into the right field.
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Old 06-03-2019, 08:41 AM
 
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It seems that there is a wide variety of fields that people have transferred into but they have had to retrain or start in a more junior position. I don't think people necessarily need another degree but training certificates in a desired field is very helpful. Usually certificates in using particular software programs or other skill related to a specific field. I think web developing and web design are interesting but the certifications programs are little pricy even though they through community colleges.

I mentioned SLP because my undergrad was science related and I loved it but the cost of getting another degree puts me off. I already have a MAsters and quite a few post-grad credits. However there are always openings for SLPs, OTs, PTs so it is a good choice for those considering grad school for the first time.

I have actually seen quite a few teachers transition into health/health-related fields but it required going back to school. A few became nurses and NPs and one became a vet.

Some experienced teachers take courses and do an administrative internship because they are more likely to get in at the admin entry level than getting a teaching position. I am considering this for more of a curriculum director type position. Definitely do not want to be a principal or SpEd admin.

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Old 06-03-2019, 09:56 AM
 
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I have a teacher friend who read about how teachers who started 20+ years ago are the last generation of teachers who will make teaching a lifetime career. There will be some here and there, but for the most part 7-10 years is the expected career length of teachers starting out now, and anyone who doesn't need to "stick it out to retirement" is likely to leave teaching as well.

I've definitely considered it. I started 15 years ago.

Even if it is decent money (which I don't agree it is for the workload and I can match it in a far less stressful job), I'm not interested in dealing with an ever increasing percentage of families who do not value education and who do not parent their children.

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All of the fun is being sucked out of it as is the creativity.
Yes
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:17 PM
 
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It does seem like more and more teachers are leaving. I'm in a couple of teacher FB groups and teachers are continuously posting about leaving or retiring early. It's a shame really. I'm in year 22. I will try to hang in here a few more before I start looking for something else to do.
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daughter studying elem ed
Old 06-04-2019, 05:11 AM
 
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I made it to year seven before I knew I could not be in a classroom for 30 years. So that was around 2000. By 2003 I had a school library media specialist position.

My daughter is studying elementary education in college. I have tried to remain neutral but also realistic to her regarding what teaching really is going to be for her. I try to share as many uplifting stories about my day as well as the frustrating things I see. I do not want to discourage her from her dream/passion, but I don't want her going into teaching thinking she is actually going to teach all day.

I have told her it is very unlikely that she will be a classroom teacher for 30 years. Those days are gone. My advice to her was get into a classroom and then figure out within a couple years what you want to do next: counselor, administration, EL/Reading specialist, SOMETHING. But she needs a plan B.
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Old 06-04-2019, 12:08 PM
 
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I have tried to remain neutral but also realistic to her regarding what teaching really is going to be for her.
Why do you feel that you have to remain neutral? You ought to warn her. She still has time to turn the train around.

I didn't know any better when I went into teaching, I wish someone would've warn me on time.
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Old 06-04-2019, 06:24 PM
 
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I think states that don't have strong teacher unions lose teachers more quickly, too. If your job, support, and rights feel precarious, then it's easier to look for something else.
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Old 06-04-2019, 11:09 PM
 
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Quote:
I have told her it is very unlikely that she will be a classroom teacher for 30 years. Those days are gone. My advice to her was get into a classroom and then figure out within a couple years what you want to do next: counselor, administration, EL/Reading specialist, SOMETHING. But she needs a plan B.
It's a real shame then and definitely NOT even worth getting into a field in which one works hard in college, passes various exams, rack up student loans, etc., just to, "figure out within a couple years what you want to do next". So that means the person more than likey has to work harder going BACK to college, pass MORE various exams, rack up EVEN MORE student loans, etc. to switch fields.

I also agree with AyAyAy. Tell her the hard truth, don't stay neutral, sugarcoat, beat around the bush, etc. You're her mother. If you don't tell her the real truth (and even discourage her from the field), no one else probably will.

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I didn't encourage my own child to go into teaching and when students ask me about it I always say: "Only go into teaching if a) you know for sure that your income will not be the primary income for your family b) you think you will love it enough that you would do it for free and c) you have a lot of self-confidence and a thick skin when it comes to criticism."
YES, this is better and much more realistic to do.
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Wow, I guess I need to explain
Old 06-05-2019, 04:24 AM
 
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For one, I think my daughter would make an excellent teacher. There are still a lot of great aspects about being a teacher that I think is conducive to family life, and she definitely sees herself as a mom someday.

Teaching has been good to me. I am glad no one discouraged me. I am the primary earner in my home, and we have a comfortable life. Nothing extravagant, but we have all we need, and a bit more. The insurance benefits are excellent. Our state now gives 12 weeks paid maternity leave.

Another great aspect about education is the ability to serve in other capacities...grade levels, buildings, specialization, etc. I have changed buildings and positions many many times, just to keep myself excited and experience teaching in other ways. Most teachers I work with have their masters because the pay increase is significant. My advice to my daughter was to choose her master's degree in a field that will give her flexibility to move to a different role in education so if she chooses to move from a classroom situation she has that ability, just as I did with Library Science.

So I guess I still see it as an awesome profession. I have seen a lot of changes during my career, in policies, the types of students we serve, I could go on and on. Some for the better, some not. I do not want her to change her major then later tell me that teaching was what she really wanted to do, and why did I talk her out of her dream career? She is almost 20 years old and needs to make decisions for herself, just as my parents let me.

And as a child of an educator her entire life, she has seen first hand the amount of work that I put into my career and I have never "sugarcoated" anything. I simply said I tell her both the downsides of what I see with the day to day aspects of the profession, as well as the great things I experience every single day.

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Old 06-05-2019, 12:15 PM
 
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I agree about staying neutral. Tell her the truth about the field but not in a discouraging way because it is her decision. And I agree with telling her to do her graduate study in something that allows her choices. Tell her to wait 3 years before choosing a graduate program; she can get a feel for teaching and for whether she wants to stay or completely change directions. And if she stays, to get her masters in something that will give her the opportunity to get out of the classroom/direct teaching. She's lucky to have your input.
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Old 06-05-2019, 01:48 PM
 
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My parents are both teachers and they definitely discouraged me from getting into teaching. At the time, it was more about how awful the job market was. When I was graduating, my dad's school was literally getting 6,000 applicants for a single job. My mom really encouraged me to go the SLP route, which I balked at because it was 6 years of school before you could start working. There have definitely been times I wished I'd listened to her!

I didn't listen to my parents because I figured I'd just move to get a job, which is exactly what I ended up doing. The thing that I was too naive to realize at the time was that the reason there are really open job markets in some states is because teachers are treated poorly there. I've had no problem getting jobs in this state, but the per pupil funding is about half of what it is in my home state. Besides the issue with salaries, we're so stretched thin here as far as resources and responsibilities go due to the low funding as well. In my home state, it was very common to have one sped teacher and one title 1 teacher (if it was a title school) per grade level. Here, most schools have 1 of each for the entire school!

Now, my parents keep pushing me to have a "plan B" because "no one teachers for 30 years anymore." My mom has gone on for years about improving my Spanish so I can be an interpreter. I took Spanish for years and years and still was never anywhere good enough- I'd literally have to go live in a Spanish speaking country for a year or two to have any hope of that. My mom's latest idea was for me to use the money I have set aside for a house (I'm looking) to get a doctorate instead so I could run my own reading business.
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allier allier is offline
 
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Shortage for some jobs
Old 06-07-2019, 04:37 PM
 
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I agree with: It's the fact that some politicians have an agenda that includes destroying the public school system and privatizing education.

The past 5 years in our district have gotten much more stressful - way too much testing. I work with ELL students and it's just ludicrous that our state makes ALL children (grade 3 up) take the state math tests even if they can't read it! They give newcomers a one year exemption from the reading test, which is written on a much higher level than we require our students to read. We have one struggling student who broke down - she said "I just can't do this anymore" - and she's in grade 4, been in the US just 2 years.

Most of my colleagues are quite dispirited about this. Not to mention the new programs (multi color glossy text books with way too many moving parts) which are "piloted" every year or two. All guaranteed to turn kids into geniuses.
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Old 06-07-2019, 05:08 PM
 
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I think a lot of teachers don't leave because they are stuck. The education and experience doesn't necessarily transfer easily to other fields. Starting all over at an entry level position just isn't feasible of you have responsibilities like kids, a mortgage, or even being a caretaker for an elderly relative. And retraining can be too expensive and time consuming in those situations. If it were easier to get jobs in other fields, then you would see a real shortage.
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