Teachers across the U.S. have had to educate in completely new and challenging ways this year, with some teaching in-person and others instructing from home.
“Right now, they are being asked to do the unimaginable and the impossible,” said shea martin, a former educator. “Whether that is teaching in-person during the pandemic or trying to navigate teaching at home with limited resources.”
martin left teaching before the pandemic because of the demands and pressures placed on teachers even then. martin simply couldn’t imagine teaching now, with the additional load teachers are being asked to carry. Recently, though, martin created The Anonymous Teachers Speak Project, a blog allowing current educators an online platform to freely speak about what they are going through.
“A lot of teachers work in districts and working spaces where they are under contract and cannot share or publicly talk about what is happening with them,” said martin. “That’s an extra burden they have to carry.”
With anonymity, roughly 1,000 teachers have posted and participated in the project.
“I think that I have read and seen some of the most heartbreaking stuff I have ever seen in my life,” added martin.
Many teachers from around the country have posted to the project, writing about safety concerns while teaching, being overworked and over-worried about their students. Some even write about coming to terms with leaving the profession.
“Teachers are crying out for help and the profession, and the district, and the schools, and the structures, are ignoring them,” said martin. “I hope it doesn’t happen, but I think we are going to lose a whole generation of teachers.”
According to a report recently released by Horace Mann, a company focused on investing and insurance for educators, 27 percent of teachers surveyed--or more than 1 in 4 teachers--are currently considering quitting.
“The fact that a quarter of teachers are considering leaving and the fact that there is already a shortage of teachers in the profession, just really make that even more so magnified,” said Tyson Sanders, who is with Mann. “Three out of four teachers are not living comfortably, so if there is an opportunity to be involved in the profession they are so passionate about and continue to help students, I think it is something they will certainly explore.”
That seems to be exactly what is happening, especially with teachers overwhelmed in the public-school space. More and more educators are starting to turn to online teaching opportunities with private companies. They’re given more flexible schedules and the pay is often better.
“It’s sad because I wish that our government and our system could figure out a way to adequately compensate and appreciate and take care of our students and teachers the way that they should be,” said martin
However, 1 in 4 teachers haven’t left yet, so maybe there is still a way to prevent such a loss of educators.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect how shea martin spells their name, in lowercase letters.