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Tennessee survey shows 22% of teachers are unlikely to stay in education

Professional Educators of Tennessee says morale is a growing concern for educators
Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 8:36 PM CST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -After more than a year of dealing with the impact of COVID-19, a study shows that many teachers are frustrated and are considering other lines of work.

The Professional Educators of Tennessee conduct a survey every year where they ask teachers a series of questions. JC Bowman and his group compiled this years’ data which showed that 22% of those that replied said they were unlikely to continue a career in education.

“Teaching isn’t a dying field, but right now it feels like we’re going through some real serious issues”, said Bowman.

In Anderson County Schools, Ryan Sutton said there hasn’t been an unusual increase in teachers leaving the profession. However he said they’re having a hard time filling the substitute teaching jobs citing many other available jobs that can pay better in the community.

Sutton said, “What’s been budgeted for this year we can’t necessarily change a rate of pay in government business and public education is government business. So, we are having a hard time filling those spots.”

Along with other competitive paying jobs elsewhere, Sutton said a decrease in would be teachers graduating college is another thing making the hiring process tougher.

According to the University of Tennessee, in 2016 they handed out 705 degrees to education majors across the entire UT system. In 2020 that number dropped down to 568.

In the survey, there were anonymous comments left that said things like “I feel underpaid and overworked”, “There has to be something taken off teachers’ plates”, and “I would not advise anyone to become an educator”. Those were a few of the almost 200 responses that the group received.

Jack Tate is a coach and teacher at Farragut High School. He said not everyone feels the same way as some of the results.

“I don’t think there’s any teachers of Farragut that want to leave the profession I think they just really love what they do”, said Tate.

This apparent burnout comes amid a search for a new superintendent in Knox County Schools.

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