Teachers across the country are leaving the profession at quite the alarming rate.
Shortages of teachers are happening in school districts big and small, with many teachers quitting their jobs after they expressed feeling undervalued financially, while also having to deal with an overall lack of discipline among their students.
Recently, one of those teachers, Stacey Sawyer from the Lee County School District in Florida, appeared on “The Big Money Show” on Fox News to talk about the issue. She said she left her job after spending 30 years in education, saying that the behavior of students has gotten “out of control” ever since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The behavior issues have gotten out of control from a lot of things. There are no subs for teachers, so they’re having to work during their planning and take over other classes. Those classes are getting inundated with more and more students.
“The district just puts more work onto the teachers, and there is no extra pay. And I think that teachers are just – they’re tired. ‘Teacher tired’ is a whole different ballgame, and they’ve had enough.”
Florida isn’t the only state facing a major shortage of teachers. It’s not a location-specific issue at all.
In some of the largest school districts, students are being taught by people who don’t have the proper licenses to teach because there isn’t an alternative at this point. Major shortages are also occurring for school psychologists and school nurses.
When asked directly what would be a solution to the problem that school districts are facing right now, Sawyer responded quickly – higher pay.
“They need extra pay because otherwise it just seems like they’re doing it all for nothing. They keep getting extra put on top of them. ‘Do this,’ ‘work an extra hour after school,’ and ‘work during your weekends,’ and add more to it. And so the pay is not worth it anymore to some of these teachers.
“They feel like they’re being taken advantage of. And they are. And if you want to keep your teachers, especially your veteran teachers, your veteran teachers are going to be the ones that help you and that help the younger teachers. They need to be paid. And those younger teachers need to see that, ‘Hey, the longer that I stay in the profession, I’m going to get paid more.’”
Lydia Hu, a co-host of the Fox News program, said that the education system in the U.S. is experiencing “multi-decade lows” in student test scores as well. Part of this, of course, is coming from the COVID-19 pandemic and part is coming from the teacher shortage.
School districts are just pushing along children who aren’t giving their best efforts, Sawyer said, which just means they end up underperforming over time. Teachers are “doing the best” that they can, she said, but parents have to take responsibility and make sure students actually go to school and work hard at it.