With an increasing lack of tenure and salary for teachers across the nation, more middle and high school teachers are abandoning their teaching positions.
“This semester we have only 411 undergrad students in the secondary education department,” said Sabrina Lewis, the academic services administrator in the Secondary Education Department at the University of South Florida. “The SCH, or student credit hours, have also been down for the College of Education as a whole.”
The number of undergrad students has decreased from previous semesters. Lewis said it will continue to slide, especially since there is no incentive for students to earn a master’s degree as teacher benefits continue to worsen.
“I didn’t like the changes I saw happening with education,” said Thomas Barbian, a USF student working towards a nursing degree. “As teachers, we are already working harder than we are paid for and the government and school board only wanted to take what little benefits we have away from us.”
Barbian isn’t the only teacher who has left his position as a secondary education teacher. According to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics, almost one-half of educators leave the field within the first five years of their career. It was also recorded that of the 17 percent of newly hired teachers each year, only three percent are recent college graduates.
Students currently working towards secondary education degrees are more hopeful about their future career paths and the duration of time that they will work in education.
“If being a teacher did not come along with a lot of benefits I would be undecided about staying in the field,” said Kaleigh Gill, a secondary social science education major. “Personally, I think the handful of benefits makes up for the low salary.”
Gill also added that while seeking this degree has been time consuming and a struggle, it has also been rewarding and has given her a bigger passion for teaching in her life. She is optimistic that she will hold on to this feeling as she begins teaching and won’t be yet another teacher who abandons their career.