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Most teachers in new poll looking to leave profession earlier

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More than half of teachers are looking to leave their profession earlier than anticipated as educators face staffing shortages amid a nearly two-year pandemic, according to a new poll published on Tuesday.

The results of a new survey from the National Education Association, which was conducted by GBAO Strategies, found that 55 percent of educators polled are planning to leave the field of education sooner than they planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and those rates are even higher for teachers of color (62 percent for Black teachers and 59 percent for Hispanic/Latino teachers.)

Those figures are up from August, when 37 percent of respondents said they planned on leaving the education profession earlier than expected.

The poll, conducted between Jan. 14 and Jan. 24, noted that the pandemic also affected the mental health of educators surveyed, 91 percent of whom said that stress related to COVID-19 was a serious problem. 

The poll also found that an overwhelming majority of teachers surveyed said burnout is a serious problem (90 percent) and that staff shortages are an issue. The poll found 74 percent of educators polled said that, due to staff shortages, they have had to take on other responsibilities, like filling in for a colleague.

“[A]s our new survey shows, after persevering through the hardest school years in memory, America’s educators are exhausted and increasingly burned out. School staffing shortages are not new, but what we are seeing now, is an unprecedented staffing crisis across every job category,” National Education Association President Becky Pringle said in a statement.

“This crisis is preventing educators from giving their students the one-on-one attention they need. It is forcing them to give up their class planning and lunch time to fill in for colleagues who are out due to COVID. And, it is preventing students from getting the mental health supports needed,” she added. 

According to the NEA survey, 96 percent of educators polled are in favor of raising salaries to address burnout, while 94 percent support giving students more mental health resources. At least 90 percent of educators also supported less paperwork and hiring more teachers and support staff. 

Tags COVID-19 National Education Association

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