‘Everybody loses’ Study finds nearly a third of teachers consider resigning, retiring early due to pandemic

Updated: Feb. 16, 2021 at 6:00 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Its’s been a rocky school year for many students; maybe even yours.

Teachers are often those friendly faces students depend on for stability in the classroom. But recently some teachers have come across tough decisions and leave the classroom altogether.

Matt Rice has been teaching high school remotely for CMS for months due to the pandemic. But recently, that all changed.

“I love my kids and I love my school,” Rice said.

Not only is he a teacher, he’s a proud dad - to highschooler Blake.

“He has autism and epilepsy,” Rice said. “Although he’s high-school-aged, he can’t be left home alone.”

As CMS prepared to bring more students back in-person, that meant Matt would need to come back into the classroom full time. That would mean leaving his son Blake at home.

“As a single parent of a disabled kid, I had a choice, either leave my job, or leave my child,” Rice said.

So he left.

“Its an even harder decision to make, because the last thing those kids need right now is more uncertainty,” Rice said about his students.

But its a decision teachers all over the country are considering.

A recent survey by the National Education Association showed nearly one third of educators said the COVID-19 pandemic has made them more likely to retire early or leave the profession.

That same report states this “includes a significant number of new or young teachers—one in five teachers with less than 10 years’ experience. It also includes 40 percent of teachers with 21 to 30 years’ experience, who are presumably leaders and mentors on their school campuses, and 55 percent of those with more than 30 years.”

Locally, the number of teacher separations - those who decide to resign, retire or are terminated - has not shown a significant increase or decrease compared to years past.

In Gaston County, the number of teachers retiring or resigning in Fall 2020 is lower than the previous 2019 year.

WBTV reached out to Union County Public schools for it’s data. The district is working to provide those numbers as soon as it can.

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