HOUSTON – A troubling new survey released this week shines a light on the context behind a teacher shortage crisis seen around the country.
The Texas State Teachers Association survey revealed that 70% of teachers are on the verge of quitting as educators’ morale sinks. The survey cited concerns of lack of support on various levels, including public opinion of teachers, an un-safe school environment and lack of support from the state legislature.
It also reported that 94% of teachers experienced an increase in stress during the pandemic. Eighty-one percent reported an increased workload and planning, in addition to growing financial pressures and more. These factors results mirror a previous study done by Texas AFT.
“I think that teachers are really finding their voice. They realize what we are worth in the education profession, and we are expected to be treated like professionals,” Jackie Anderson, Houston Federation of Teachers and a former HISD teacher, said.
This comes as HISD is reporting a need for hundreds of teachers as it works to fill vacancies before the start of the school year. The district is promoting teacher certifications and is paying for people outside the education field to undergo an alternative certification program. HISD is also bolstering incentives and pay. The district said it has filled 95% of its 11,000 jobs at the district. Anderson said the issue of the teacher shortage go beyond just pay.
“They leave support systems that are broken. They leave bad cultures,” Anderson said.
Yvette Ramos taught at Fort Bend ISD.
“I loved the kids,” Ramos said.
She loved teaching. In fact, her mother and sister are also teachers. However, Ramos said that the growing concerns in teaching made it so that she had to leave the profession.
“A big reason why I left the profession was, there wasn’t a lot of support. A lot of us felt inundated with data and a lot of extra items that we had to take on, on top of teaching our kids and building lesson plans,” Ramos said.
Like the survey, Ramos also referenced concerns over growing politics in education, affecting teachers’ ability to do their job and cultivate their passion. Ramos also said many teachers experience an unhealthy or unsafe work environment and do not feel valued or heard. Both Anderson and Ramos said that correcting this troubling trend will require a shift in mindset about the way teachers and students’ education are valued.
“These are the people taking care of our children and our future, so the view that we have of our teachers needs to change,” Ramos said.