HOUSTON — The last two years of Pamela Davis-Duck's decades in education helped lead to her decision to call it quits earlier than she had planned.
"Very challenging,” Davis-Duck said.
She said you could feel the tension in the school building in the months before she left as teachers and others dealt with COVID-related issues.
“I would say we were overworked," Davis-Duck said. "And also kind of concerned about the pandemic, the virus.”
According to a new survey conducted for the National Education Association:
- 55% of educators said they’re ready to leave the profession they love earlier than planned.
- 74% of those surveyed said they’ve had to fill in for colleagues due to staff shortages.
- 80% said unfilled job openings have led to more work for them.
- 90% said feeling burned out is a serious problem.
"They are overwhelmed,” NEA president Becky Pringle said during an interview with KHOU 11 News from her office in Washington DC.
She said teachers of color are leaving, or considering doing so, at even higher rates.
"This is a crisis in education," Pringle said. "Though we have chronic teacher shortages, the pandemic, like with everything else, has made it so much worse.”
Higher salaries, more mental health support and increased staffing are among suggested ways to help keep educators on the job.
“I’m really concerned about the students because the key to all ills in society is education,” Davis-Duck said.
Many school districts have increased salaries and/or offer bonuses to help retain teachers.
Job fairs and other recruiting efforts are also ongoing for teachers, subs, bus drivers and other positions.