HOUSTON — A recent study found new teachers in Texas are leaving the job after their first year at an alarming rate. It’s an issue education leaders say is adding to staff shortages districts are already facing from the pandemic.
"Unfortunately, we're seeing a lot of burnout in teachers in their first year of teaching,” said Jackie Anderson, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers.
The 2020-2021 Texas Teacher Workforce Report found over a 10-year period that the biggest drop-off in retention was from the first year to the second.
Lamar CISD recently had a first-year teacher go viral in a recording.
"I want to be fired at this point – I literally am going to hurt myself if I have to keep coming here,” said an unnamed 6th-grade teacher at Harry Wright Junior High.
The teacher has since been put on administrative leave. The district sent a statement condemning the teachers’ comments.
Anderson says it sheds light on a bigger issue, “I've had calls from some teachers who called and asked how they can get out of their contracts without penalty."
She says there are several factors contributing to the deficit. One being teacher and staff shortages due to COVID.
"This causes a real hardship, in the teachers that are there they are having to double up their classes and cover additional classes,” said Anderson.
The other she says is pay, “One thing they have to do is start to compensate. You’re going to get burnt out if you have to work two to three jobs to make ends meet. I can speak from experience as an educator of 33-years."
The report found from 2011 to 2019 average teacher salary in Texas had little to no increase at all.
Anderson is calling for change, "We're going to really have to look revamping education and what’s expected and required." She says the shortages directly affect the classroom, “Bottom line of this our students are suffering."
Editor's note: This report originally stated that nearly 50% of teachers left after their very first year.