The pandemic was incredibly difficult for teachers. My mom and sister, who both teach at the middle school level, have been through the absolute ringer.

My mom just retired because she was ready to be done with it all. My sister, who just had a beautiful baby girl, went through the last nine months of her job pregnant.

Even some of my closest friends who are teachers and just started their professional careers are exhausted. Pair minimal pay, very limited opportunity to increase that pay or ascend to a higher position, and (now on their minds more than ever) worrying about students' and their own safety? That doesn't sound like a career path I'd want to pursue, at all.

In a survey put together by the National Education Association (NEA), "A staggering 55% of educators are thinking about leaving the profession earlier than they had planned. ... This represents a significant increase from 37% in August (2021) and is true for educators regardless of age or years teaching."

Clearly, teachers in the Des Moines metro area feel the same way. KCCI reports that "Des Moines schools are reporting nearly 300 teachers are resigning or retiring this summer. That's the highest in 5 years. Waukee is losing 45 teachers due to resignations."

Axios Des Moines adds this of other districts:

"Ankeny has 79 teachers leaving, up from 50 from last year. Out of those, 62 are resigning.

Johnston has 57 teachers leaving, in comparison to 46 from last year. Out of those, 48 are resigning.

Urbandale has about 55 teachers, 15% of its staff, leaving this year. Last year, about 8% left."

And it's not like they're staying silent about the issues they face.

This quote is from a teacher currently working within the greater Des Moines metro area:

Nothing could have prepared us for the needs our students brought with them when they walked through our doors this school year. More than ever before we are teaching skills like perseverance, kindness, conflict resolution, and emotional intelligence while battling increased reliance on screen time and social media. The needs are so prevalent that some days it feels like we are getting nowhere.

And here's a quote from another teacher in the Des Moines area, who left the profession prior to the pandemic:

The demands placed on teachers are incredibly overwhelming. Teachers are often expected to handle extreme behaviors on their own due to a lack of behavioral support in their buildings. To get some students the academic support they are desperately in need of, there is an extensive documentation process that has to be gone through before the needed help can be given. In some cases, teachers are asked to document behaviors and academic deficiencies every two minutes while also attempting to engage with and manage their class of 22 or more students. The impending teacher shortage is so great that administration is tempted to tiptoe around poor teachers in fear of making them upset, causing the teacher to walk out, and the school to be short another qualified body in the room. The blame that parents throw at teachers is one of the most stressful parts of the job. You could be the sweetest, most kind, patient, welcoming, and caring teacher. However, there will still be parents who will verbally attack you, threaten to sue you, and will report you to administration for anything. ... No one wants to wake up and go to a job where you put in 400% effort, and you’re consistently told: 'it’s not good enough.' Teachers don’t have anything left to give.

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