Oklahoma teachers reportedly quitting due to stress of pandemic, teacher shortage

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – There’s another result of the pandemic you may be feeling in your own local school district; teachers quitting the profession, some barely even into the school year.

“It’s time that as districts, that as leaders, we lean in and we listen to each other,” said Katherine Bishop, President of the Oklahoma Education Association.

Bishop says she’s been traveling to districts across the state, hearing the stories of teachers who’ve had enough of the stress associated with teaching in a pandemic.

“Over fall break, one district had several teachers that didn’t return after fall break so it is becoming real and at what cost?” she said. 

Even first-year teachers are leaving the profession early on in their career and the school year.

“Left the building, didn’t show up actually,” said Lawrence Lane, a teacher at Checotah High School. “I’m not even sure she came back to the building.”

Lane says in his 40-plus-year teaching career, he hasn’t seen anything like this.

“It’s kind of disheartening,” Lane said. “It’s tough enough just to recruit teachers to the teaching field, let alone getting someone to come in and leave kind of abruptly.”

Bishop says, for teachers, the stress has been compounded. On top of health concerns, they’re juggling virtual and in-person learning, all in the middle of a teacher and substitute shortage.

“Then on top of that, to know the public support is waning, so that just adds on to the load,” said Bishop.

She says now it is as important as ever to focus on the well-being of teachers and students.

“We were so good last year, we did so many things to make sure our students were learning,” Bishop said. “We’re losing sight. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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