Florida teachers quit their jobs because they say they feel unsafe and are overwhelmed by the workload.
“Teachers have pretty much had it,” Orange County Classroom Teachers Association (CTA) President Wendy Doromal said in an interview with The Americano.
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From July 1 to Sept. 30, the CTA reports that 479 teachers have walked away from their jobs in Orange County, in addition to 79 teachers the first two weeks of October.
“We have seen more teachers than ever resign after the school year began, and it’s due to not feeling safe in the workplace or being overwhelmed with the workload,” Doromal said.
She added that teachers are required to teach virtual classes while simultaneously teaching students in their classrooms. As more students have returned to school, she said the school district has not replaced the resigning teachers and is just increasing the class size.
On Oct. 26, Florida’s Commissioner of Education, Richard Corcoran said that he does not expect a shortage of teachers this year despite the hundreds of resignations.
“Basically, in 67 districts, we have give or take, 99 or 100% of our teachers have come back to the classroom, and we don’t even remotely fear a teacher shortage at all,” Corcoran said, according to WESH 2 News.
However, Doromal said she disagreed with Corcoran’s statement and added that Florida had a teacher shortage of 3,000 last year before the pandemic.
Doromal blames the push to reopen school amid a pandemic entirely on President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who “follows step-by-step whatever the president says.”
“Our [COVID-19] cases are being underreported,” Doromal said. “It’s unsafe to teach in schools.”
During the summer, CBS12 discovered that COVID-19 deaths were being underreported and that a system glitch missed thousands of cases. The CTA is now reporting each new case they discover on their Facebook page.
“After five years of working for OCPS as a fifth-grade teacher, I am walking away from education,” Ashley Craig of Riverside Elementary School said in her resignation letter. “I do not make this decision lightly. Education is my passion. I love teaching and inspiring. I always want to know that what I do matters. I am walking away from education for many reasons, and I wish I could say it’s mostly the money. It isn’t, though. This will be the assumption.”
She added, “I’m walking away because I am not valued as a professional. I am expected to give until I break. My students deserve a happy teacher. I work over 50 hours a week, with only 37.5 hours paid.”