If pandemic-era stressors remain, school and district leaders should support teachers and offer flexibility to maintain the teacher supply.

Job-related stress threatens the teacher supply

If pandemic-era stressors are permanent, school and district leaders should support teachers and offer flexibility

Nearly one in four teachers may leave their job by the end of the current (2020-’21) school year, compared with one in six who were likely to leave prior to the pandemic, according to a new RAND Corporation survey. Teachers who identified as Black or African American were particularly likely to consider leaving.

U.S. public-school teachers surveyed in January and February 2021 reported they are almost twice as likely to experience frequent job-related stress as the general employed adult population and almost three times as likely to experience depressive symptoms as the general adult population.

These results suggest potential immediate and long-term threats to the teacher supply.

“Teacher stress was a concern prior to the pandemic and may have only become worse. The experiences of teachers who were considering leaving at the time of our survey were similar in many ways to those of teachers who left the profession because of the pandemic,” said Elizabeth Steiner, lead author of the report and a policy researcher at RAND, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization. “This raises the concern that more teachers may decide to quit this year than in past years if nothing is done to address challenging working conditions and support teacher well-being.”

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