As many students head back to the classroom, many are returning to schools that are understaffed. More than half of the teaching vacancies in public schools come from resignations, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. With thousands of teaching vacancies across the country, it seems as if we're struggling with a shortage of educators.
The breaking point for me was continuously being devalued. And not feeling like I could teach the truth and meet my scholars where they were. And it was also just the idea that we, as a profession didn't land here by any choice. We didn't mysteriously come about this teacher shortage. There has been a continuous evaluation of teachers and defunding of education for decades. - Miss Qorsho Hassan, 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year
Ms. Qorsho Hassan taught elementary school and was the first Somali American to be named Minnesota Teacher of the Year. Two years ago, Qorsho Hassan became the first Somali American to win Minnesota Teacher of the Year. In June, Qorsho announced she was leaving the classroom.
Students, parents, and fellow educators describe Qorsho Hassan as an exceptional teacher: an example of how teachers of color can change a classroom. But in an interview with Sahan Journal, Qorsho says that Minnesota schools continue to fail their students—and teachers like her, too.
A new survey from job search platform Joblist explores why so many workers are quitting, and one of the big takeaways is that many teachers in the U.S. feel unhappy and underappreciated.
According to the poll, 26% of educators who quit their last job cited low pay or lack of benefits as a reason why they left, compared to 19% of workers in all industries who resigned because of meager pay and benefits.
“We’ve been tasked with the impossible job of fighting systemic racism,” Qorsho said.
When we talk about a teacher shortage, what it really is, it's a pay and respect shortage. What do you make of that?
As a response to this question, Qursho explained; I agree with that. I think about how there's a salary shortage, there are incompetent wages for the work that we do. And I also feel like there's this expectation that we do free labor, without any foresight or any thought about the families that we have. In addition, there are other roles that we carry besides teaching.
Only if teachers had the resources to meet the needs of their students, and did not feel like the burden of all of their needs fell on their shoulders. This included food, housing, and other resources. Teachers would still be teaching.
A Wall Street Journal analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that as of November, the number of people quitting work in educational services (which includes teachers) had grown faster than in any other industry. According to the BLS, 182,000 people quit their jobs in public education in February of this year, up from 138,000 the same month in 2021.
As a result of what's happening, the number of students heading to college and becoming teachers is shrinking. The field isn't even being filled by college students who've finished teacher preparation programs. Those who stay, if they're in a terrible situation or are trying to hang on until they retire, aren't as good as they used to be.
Unfortunately, children are the ones who pay the price.
It's still challenging because teachers have to take care of themselves. Teachers do have individual lives and feelings, and mental health to worry about as well. So if things don't get better, we should really worry about the future.
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