Look, I’m just going to be honest here. Teaching is no longer for the faint of heart: it is for full armored superheroes ready to battle for what is right and just.

Picture brand new teachers fresh out of college living out their dream of inspiring students to listen, learn and grow. Aww, but then it is smashed to HE@# after they are pulled, kicked, and told to F off by students (and sometimes parents.)

These new teachers will seek out the help of administrators who may or may not have their backs but will definitely care if their standards are written on the board.

So, now they are living on Elm Street and that picture-perfect dream is a full-blown Freddy VS Jason nightmare.

Of course, teachers are leaving, and it’s not just about compensation but also these common reasons.

1. Parents bubble wrap their children.

Bubble-wrapping parents see danger for their children in everything and everyone and go to great lengths to protect their kids. They are the ones challenging teachers and writing messages to us as long as War and Peace about their child’s grades or behavior.

They see us as a threat capable of popping a few bubbles.

2.  Lack of respect for the teaching career is at an all-time high.

There was a time not too long ago when I was proud to say that I was a teacher when asked about my occupation. Now, I am hesitant and feel judged.

It doesn’t help that social media is fertile ground for people who wish to teacher bash for any mistake that a teacher may make. In the “olden days,” parents would just talk to the teacher or administration, now they broadcast their issues to thousands of people and end up destroying reputations.

3. Solutions are aimed at attracting new teachers and not keeping the old ones.

Yes, attract the young ones with incentives, but for goodness sake reward the Ol Veterans too. We are the ones that can mentor the newbies and get them to stick around for more than a year. We need the opportunity for growth in the form of monetary compensation, as well.

4. We do not wish to be mentally and physically drained each and every day.  

Extreme behavior from students and condescending administrators make us question if the intrinsic rewards are worth the abuse and mistreatment.

The lack of resources and programs for behaviorally challenged students makes it impossible to teach effectively.

Our exhaustion prevents us from being emotionally available to our own families, and that’s not worth it. 

5. Teacher autonomy is nonexistent.

We didn’t get advanced college degrees to be told what, when, and how to teach. Teachers have been written up for not following their lesson plans to the letter or going long on a math lesson.

This type of micromanagement is extremely harmful to the overall teaching profession and causes massive teacher flight.

6. Test scores are emphasized over all else.

It’s no wonder the teacher shortage is greatest in high transiency areas. It is very hard to be held accountable for student test scores when students pass through a revolving door; yet, we are held responsible.

Let’s put Maslow before Bloom and care more about the overall well-being of our students and educators than numbers on a page.

7. Teacher education programs need to provide more hands-on experiences.

According to Dr. Stephanie Livers, associate professor of Michigan State University, education programs should structure more time in the classroom with their educational methods and behavior management courses.

This would prevent future educators from having a glamorized view of what really happens in the classroom. They would have a better chance of being successful and not quitting.

8. Legislation keeps adding more needless paperwork.

Why are things like student learning goals still on the plates of teachers when they are not helping student achievement? The endless stream of in-depth lesson plans, attendance reports, and reflective analysis is often a complete waste of a teacher’s creative energy.

Eliminate what does not help students to learn. Period.

9. Fewer people are majoring in education degrees.

According to The Hill, there has been a drastic decline in the number of students pursuing teaching degrees since 2019. When students hear in the media about all of the major problems that teachers are having and the low pay, do you really blame them?

10. Shortages cause more shortages.

When there are many vacant staff positions, other teachers have to fill in the gaps. They lose their prep, take on more students in already crowded classrooms and have extra duties.

This leads to burnout and burnout leads to quitting. More shortages ensue. Vicious circle.

What are the solutions for the staffing shortages that we are facing? We can start by changing the culture of our schools back to one of respect and value for our educators.

 If we make our decisions with considerable input from our teachers and staff, things will change. If we continue to ignore the mental well-being of one of our greatest community assets, the teachers, education will continue to die a lonely death.