Why Teachers Quit

They say that teaching can be a thankless job.  A new study published in the Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research, “Why do teachers leave? A comprehensive occupational health study evaluating intent-to-quit in public school teachers,” shows that other factors besides ingratitude drive teachers to quit.

The study–by Dr. Krista Howard, associate professor of psychology, and her colleagues–investigated public school teachers in Texas. The study explores the common reasons why teachers quit their jobs and or leave the profession. The researchers found that teachers “with fewer years’ experience and alternative certificates were more likely to quit.”

In this study, the researchers looked at several factors why a teacher would either leave the profession or their current school district. The researchers went to 2,588 teachers across 46 school districts in Texas. They gave the teachers a “comprehensive occupational health survey” in which the teachers were asked to rate their stress levels and their anxiety levels, then rate how likely they are to quit, on different scales. The researchers also considered the ages of the teachers in their results.

Many factors explain why teachers quit. They found that young teachers, poorly organized teachers, teachers with low job involvement, low perceived support, low job control, and poor school climate would either quit or leave the profession. Teachers’ mental health mattered, too. Teachers who suffered from poor mental health such as high anxiety, stress, major depression, or panic disorders rated that they were more likely to quit the profession. This study can help educators and administrators as they work to retain teachers in the profession. They can start by helping address these key factors explaining why teachers would quit their job.