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Special Report: Teachers leave Texas classrooms in record numbers

teacher stress
Posted at 7:06 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-22 08:29:57-04

WACO, Texas — A record number of teachers left Texas classrooms in the last six months, according to the Texas Education Agency.

"It doesn't surprise me," former Killeen ISD teacher Jason Fleming told 25 News.

Fleming has been an agriculture teacher for the last 18 years and just left his job about a month ago.

"I've pretty much been around education my entire life and I mean I never thought I would end up quitting until the last two years," he said.

Fleming said lack of accountability was one of the biggest issues to push him out the door.

"They hadn't been in a school setting in 2 years, so they still act like they're in sixth and seventh grade," he said. "The maturity level is terrible. They didn't want to do their work and everything was always the teacher's fault."

Both his parents, his wife, and many friends are still educators and he said they're also all being pushed to their limits.

"Everyone is so burnt out and fed up," he said.

Texas State Teachers Association recently told 25 News in an interview that more than 55 percent of their members are considering a new career path.

"This has been the hardest school year," Ovidia Molina with TSTA said. "We're talking about veteran teachers in tears because of what they're seeing and feeling. And we're seeing our new educators who have a year or a couple of years into the profession and they just don't know how they can keep going."

As hundreds of teachers make their exit from education, early 500 have been reported to the state for breaking a contract in the last six months. That number is up 60 percent from last year.

If a teacher does break a contract, they could have their licenses either revoked or suspended. For many, it's worth the risk to their career.

"It's the constant attacks on how we teach, the constant attack on how we keep our students safe that's creating so many things just pushing into our school districts that we haven't seen before," Molina said.