DENVER — A survey from the Colorado Education Association — the largest educator’s union in the state, representing more than 39,000 educators — found that 67% of their members have considered leaving the field since the COVID-19 pandemic flipped education on its head.
“Of course we don’t expect that many people to retire or resign, but it is a red flag and a warning sign that teachers are feeling stressed, stretched and burnt out,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, the union’s president. “This past year, many have decided, was one of the hardest they’ve ever experienced.”
Sarah Klaiber, an elementary school teacher who has taught in the Denver metro area for nine years, said the career has always come with challenges: kids with behavioral issues, communicating with parents and working in a high-stress environment for relatively low pay. Klaiber felt equipped to deal with those challenges, but things reached a breaking point when COVID-19 hit in 2020.
“I don’t think that most teachers, including myself, have gotten the support that they need from parents and administrators,” Klaiber said. “I think that administrators, for the most part, are doing their best as well; I just think everyone is very stretched thin and there are a lot of needs in every classroom.”