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Career & Money

Black Teachers Are Quitting, And Here's Why

Teaching can be a rewarding career, but for many Black women, it can be a very challenging one to sustain. According to a recent report, Black teachers are more likely to leave the profession and are exiting in record numbers. Millennials and Gen Zers make up a large portion of educators, and the Learning Policy Institute reported in 2019 that the demand for teachers had exceeded supply by more than 100,000 positions—confirming that there’s a severe gap in the pipeline from college-to-classroom for new educators.


Many have loved and watched shows like Abbott Elementary, a fictional depiction of some very real-life issues inspired by former Philadelphia Public Schools veteran Joyce Abbott. Whether a parent, educator, or student, as Black women we've known all well the challenges we all face when it comes to the educational system.

Let's explore the issue and a few tips on burnout and career transitioning for Black women in education:

Why Are Black Teachers Quitting?

For some, it's really not about the act of teaching being the problem. It's the red tape, the constant pressures they face from state and institutional authorities, and the lack of resources. State reports indicate that Black teachers have the highest rates of turnover in education, with "major culprits" being stress, low pay, and intrusion of politics.

There's also the issue of Black and Hispanic teachers being more likely to not have certification in major markets where there are shortages, or they're teaching in an underfunded district. These factors, according to experts, are associated with the higher rates of professionals leaving as well. When in such situations, it's more likely that an educator might quit due to the added pressures and challenging environment.

Pay for teachers, according to statistics, has not changed in 30 years (yes, you read that right), so one can only imagine the very demoralizing impact of the salary issue. The pay has not even begun to catch up with inflation. It's gotten to the point where legislation has been introduced on the federal and state levels just to ensure parity and a decent working wage for teachers.

Black-woman-in-a-daze-gazing-out-her-window-while-reading

Fotostorm/Getty Images

Beating Burnout and Transitioning Out 

With teachers leaving the industry or using their skills of people management, lesson planning, and communications in other ways (à la Tiffany "The Budgetnista" Aliche), there are ways to not only beat burnout but go into something a bit more fitting for the stage of life you might be in.

Experts at The University of San Diego offer the following tips for beating burnout:

Prioritize your health: Be sure you're eating balanced meals and putting your mental and physical wellness first. Seeking therapy, exercising regularly, and taking on a fun new activity are a great start. Find ways to boost emotional intelligence.

Lean into your resources for educator support: Talk with your fellow teaching network and organizations, and participate even if it's virtual. Be sure you're tapping into all the support resources afforded to you.

Advocate for yourself: Keeping track of your successes, speaking up about promotions or other benefits, and going to where you are loved and valued are steps you can take as well.

Set work-life boundaries: When possible, leave work at the school and be present in the moments of rest and self-love at home.

Black-teacher-looking-at-her-empty-classroom-while-grading-papers-at-her-desk

Getty Images

For those looking to transition out, sit down and create a good exit plan both related to your career and your finances. Think about how you can use your transitional skills to pursue a different career, start a side hustle, or work in a different aspect of education. Tap into what led you into teaching in the first place and go from there. If everything seems a bit overwhelming, seek the help of a coach or consultant who can help you navigate the journey of the career transition.

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Featured image by Manu Vega/Getty Images

 

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