Pandemic proved too much for some Missouri teachers


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — One in 10 Missouri teachers are thinking about calling it quits after a challenging year of pandemic education, a recent survey found.

Researchers with Missouri State University’s College of Education sent out the survey to each of the 67,000 public school educators with an email on file with the state and 8,040 responded in mid-February. Of those planning to retire or resign, 62% cited the pandemic as their reason, the Springfield News-Leader reports.

Paul Katnik, assistant commissioner of education in Missouri, said any uptick in exits will cause ripples in the state.

“Minor changes in percentages, stacked on top of what we were seeing before the pandemic, will have real consequences for kids sitting in classrooms, needing an education,” he said.

He said his department, state-level education advocacy groups and teacher unions are watching the resignations and retirements closely.

“A lot of data across the country certainly showed teachers were exhausted and thinking about it,” Katnik said.

He said it’s unclear if widespread availability of the vaccine, lower infection rates, lower hospitalization rates, and more schools returning to in person learning will spur some of the teachers to reconsider leaving.

“That could certainly change people’s minds on how safe they feel in schools and working with children,” Katnik said.

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