Survey: 22% of teachers say they want out of the profession

TENNESSEE, USA — A study from the Professional Educators of Tennessee shows around 22% of teachers across Tennessee said they don’t plan to stay in education — a fifth of the state’s workforce for teaching children. More than 80% of teachers in the study also said teacher morale was the biggest challenge facing educators.

The association conducts the annual survey of teachers every fall. For years, the top complaint is usually student discipline. This year, for the first time, low teacher morale was the number one reason why some teachers want to leave their profession.

JC Bowman, executive director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, said the pandemic has taken a hit on teachers’ morale, partly due to teachers having to constantly switch from in-person to virtual learning.

The survey also shows that most teachers want better pay for their work and said they work beyond the expected 40-hour workweeks just to make sure children are given good lessons and to keep up with the state’s expectations of them.

Teachers said they want to see better mental health support in school. They also went on to say there isn’t enough time in the school day to get everything done.