More new and veteran K-12 teachers resigned in 2020 than in 2019 in certain areas, citing the shift to virtual learning in many schools as well as concerns over school reopening plans that force teachers into situations that make them more susceptible to COVID-19, Newsweek reported earlier this week.
“I had to consider the health of my family,” one of nine science teachers who resigned from the Queen Creek Unified School District in Arizona said. “I am a science teacher. We gather evidence and we make decisions. If there is competing data, we look at both and weigh them. The data from the experts in our health field suggested we should not yet be teaching in person because of the potential for this to cause more outbreaks.”
The New York State Teacher Retirement System, for example, reported that teacher retirements were up 20 percent from 2019 levels and that about 650 teachers had filed for retirement between July and August alone.
Actions of teachers mirror the current business trend of closing up shop for good. In California alone, some 2,270 restaurants shut their doors forever between March 1 and July 10, and in Illinois, 721 restaurants called it quits in the same period, the vast majority due to the upending of indoor dining, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Among the reasons reported for resignations by teachers across the country:
- Teachers sometimes have frustrating experiences learning to use new technology
- Online learning requires them to stream to many students throughout long days
- Teachers are concerned over the health risks of in-person learning
The dilemma in which teachers find themselves is understandable but stressful. On the one hand, in-person learning is better for social-emotional development; on the other hand, at-home learning protects students as much as possible from the COVID-19 virus, reports Riya Chopra in The Dublin Shield, the student newspaper at Dublin High School.
“The socio-emotional development of being in school is critical,” interim superintendent Daniel Moirao, of the Dublin Unified School District in California, was quoted as saying. “And that’s where we want to be. But then I think about the virus itself. The idea of putting any student or staff in harm’s way is above all of that and must take precedence.”