This Educator Shared The Reality Of What Teachers Are Going Through Right Now, And She's Not Surprised There's A National Teacher Shortage

·4 min read

As back-to-school season commences, the national teacher shortage crisis looms, and it seems like it's only going to get worse.

A classroom full of kids with some holding their hands up and some wearing masks
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About 300,000 public school educators quit their jobs between February 2020 and May 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and another 55% of educators have expressed thoughts about leaving, a survey from the National Education Association reported.

Parents walking with their kids from school

The National Education Association is the country's biggest labor union, representing nearly 3 million educators.

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Many teachers have taken to social media to express their grievances about the shortage. Sari Beth Rosenberg, a New York City public school educator and cofounder of the nonprofit organization Teachers Unify to End Gun Violence, tweeted that the shortage is not "surprising" to her, after reflecting on the amount of criticism she's received this year.

The now-viral tweet prompted a discussion about the reasons why so many teachers continue to leave their jobs. Many people responded to the post with their own anecdotes about how the shortage was affecting them.

One teacher agreed with Sari Beth and said they had considered quitting due to the similar poor treatment they had experienced.

Another person said he had witnessed a lack of financial support from his school district, causing teachers to have to pay for their students' supplies out of their own pockets.

Someone else brought up the point that teaching positions do not pay very well compared to other jobs.

And another person shared that he had witnessed teachers express anxiety over politics and health.

The issues mentioned above — low pay, health concerns, and minimal backing from school districts — are all things Sari Beth reiterated about the causes of the teacher shortage.

On top of the mounting list of reasons why teachers are quitting, educators in some states have been forced to adhere to bans on teaching "controversial" subject matter.

"I know that in Florida, one of my friends said they're gonna get a list of banned books," Sari Beth said. "I've seen teachers online talk about the painstaking process of making sure that the books sitting on their bookshelf for their kids to read are approved by every single interested party in their districts."

"Teachers now have to choose between their paycheck and teaching the truth."

"I'm in New York City — a progressive city. When I say progressive, I mean they're not telling us what books we can teach. They're not telling us that we can't teach about systemic racism existing or talk about slavery in a way that might make people uncomfortable."

She continued on to say, "If a kid's in my class, they're gonna learn that slavery happened and it wasn't great at all," she said. "But when they attend college within a couple of years, they might be in a classroom with another kid that went to a school where they might not know the full story of America."

Overall, Sari Beth would like people to understand how difficult it is to be a teacher in today's political landscape. "I want people to know that teachers are not the enemy," she said. "It breaks teachers' hearts to have to leave their jobs because of either not feeling safe in their schools or not feeling supported to teach what they think kids should learn."

You can keep up with Sari Beth on her Instagram @saribethrose.

What do you think? If you're a teacher, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.