TAMPA, Fla. – This is the tale of two teachers at Alonso High School, both concerned about the future of teaching.
“I've been doing it for 40 years,” said Heidi Glick, “I love what I do. I don’t know if I was 25 years old if I would still able to do this.”
And Alexis Cranendonk who said, “This is my 10th year teaching. I just had my student loans forgiven.” They are part of a growing number of teachers either looking to retire or considering getting out of teaching altogether since the pandemic began. For Cranendonk, a lot of her concerns involve money.
“I’m 32 and I’m getting tired of working 4 jobs. And I have to ask myself, is this sustainable? Can I do this at 42, 52, 62?”
According to the National Education Association, there are 567,000 fewer educators in public schools now than they were before the pandemic. In a poll conducted by the NEA earlier this year, 80% of educators say their workload has increased due to the teacher shortage, 90% are feeling burned out and 67% of those feeling burnt out say it's very serious.
“All along it's always been, what did the teachers need? Let's support the teachers. Let's keep class sizes down. Let's make sure everything is moving along and there's a lot of support,” Glick said, “The last few years, like a last decade and a half, it's been more like money, money, money.” The Hillsborough County School District added a referendum to the August primary ballot that will ask voters to increase property taxes so the teachers can receive higher salaries. It will ask voters to pay one dollar for every $1,000 of assessed property value.
But Cranendonk says there needs to be more than just more money put on the table.
“I want to see more social workers. I want to see more help and assistance. I want to see smaller class sizes. I want better resources overall.”