2019 Frustrated Teacher Getty 516234222 Name Removed 1200X700

Why I would quit teaching

In an open-ended question in the 2019 PDK poll, we asked teachers why they had seriously considered leaving the profession. These are verbatim comments from teachers in response to that question.

“I have a master's degree and more than 25 years’ experience and am making less than I was making 10 years ago but am putting in many more hours now.”

“The pressures all around have become all-encompassing, and we are losing sight of the role of a classroom teacher in a primary classroom. Testing, standards, grading, scoring, constant evaluations are getting in the way of hands-on, meaningful learning opportunities.”

“The demands placed on public school teachers are quite literally impossible to reasonably accomplish.”

“Very long hours. Some very difficult parents who think I am the sole educator of their children, not part of a team that they are also a part of.”

“Too much testing, paperwork, top-heavy administration that is out of touch with campus-level issues.”

“Low pay and high stress.”

“Long hours for little pay and students are unmotivated.”

“Disrespect, anger issues, lack of initiative in students. I am retiring because of it.”

“Exhaustion, increased workload, and paperwork requirements.”

“After working in my profession for five years, my annual income is $30,000 before taxes. I will never be able to own my own home at this rate.”

“Lack of respect, evaluations that are not in my control based on the behavior of children, pay freezes for over five years, low pay carrying over into retirement, unable to pay for living expenses, administrative disrespect for teachers publicly and privately, defiant and belligerent students returned to the classroom after egregious behavior.”

“Disrespect from the public while job requirements increase.”

“Teachers’ pay is low, no respect from parents, and too much testing and pressure from the state to get the students to pass the state test.”

“I have an engineering degree and could make far more in a less stressful job.”

“Lack of respect from students and parents, and the lack of pay.”

“Too much work and too little pay and respect as a profession.”

“I feel that our system is broken and doesn’t do enough to help struggling students.”

“So many hoops to jump through. Constantly trying out new programs that don’t teach basic skills, character, good citizenship. Lots of extra professional development and paperwork, not much parental support and low pay. I work late nights, weekends, and have PD (professional development) for nearly half of my summer.”

“With lack of parental support, discipline has decreased, making it harder to maintain a class especially with larger class sizes.”

“Ridiculous evaluation system relying 50% on things/tests outside of the teacher's control.”

“The behavior problems are getting worse and worse. It is getting harder and harder to teach!”

“The job is impossible to do well. The expectations placed on teachers are unrealistic and not attainable.”

“The lack of respect from society along with the increasing amount of bureaucratic nonsense that I am required to waste time on.”

“They took away my pension.”

“I work 55 hours a week, have 12 years’ experience and make $43K. I worry and stress daily about my classroom prep work and kids. I am a fool to do this job.”

“Common Core ruined the curriculum and made it a dead, meaningless, and tedious thing.”

“The job has shifted from teaching to more documentation of student performance and following state criteria as well as administrating medical attention for each child.”

“Outrageous demands (from families, paperwork, standards), while my take-home pay has decreased 15-20% over the past 10 years.”

“Stupid curriculums, religion interfering with curriculum, serious lack of funds, overemphasis on sports.”

“Increased responsibility without increased compensation, inability to effectively discipline students.”

“It sometimes feels like a futile effort; students aren’t interested and don’t retain anything; they don’t see the value in learning, and they aren’t encouraged to do so by their parents or society at large. They know celebrities make more money than teachers, and that is what they value.”

“Tired of being treated like dirt.”

“State and federal laws make the job almost unmanageable, especially in regard to student discipline.”

“Tired of dealing with kids who have no respect for others, and parents that will take their child's side, no matter what.”

“No hay consecuencias referente al mal compartamiento.” (“There are no consequences for bad behavior.”)

“I feel I am a test pusher not a teacher. Things are quite different than when I started teaching long ago. I spend too much time on discipline problems instead of teaching in my classroom. I love children, but the stress on teachers today is TOO much!”

“Primeramente seria por la falta de ayuda en la aula con estudiantes que no tienen valores, la acumulacion de examenes que dar, tantas formas que llenar, falta de tiempo para planear, mucho trabajo que llevar a la casa.” (“Firstly, it would be due to the lack of help in the classroom with students who do not have values, the accumulation of exams to give, so many forms to fill out, lack of time to plan, a lot of work to take home.”)

“Discipline is awful, children are often by themselves at home with no one to help! Parents blame educators for everything, participate rarely.”

“Lack of teacher autonomy with regards to making professional decisions regarding curriculum use in the general education classroom.”

“I am not just considering it. I am getting out. There is no support. We are asked to do too much for too little money. We are treated like trash by administrators, students, parents, and the district.”

“Few pay increases and if there is a raise it almost all goes to beginning teacher pay. The more experienced teachers get the least raise. Also, raises seem to come with benefit changes that offset the raise. I look at other professions and see harder work and experience pay off but not in teaching.”

“The lack of support from the administration, parents, judges, courts, etc., is overwhelmingly disheartening.”

“No raises and too much hoop jumping.”

“The job never ends, and the parents of my students send outright mean emails.”

“I would be valued better elsewhere.”