Have any teachers at West considered changing careers due to the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Olivia Jiang

The past eighteen months have changed everyone’s lives, especially for people who work in education. It’s difficult to constantly transfer from going in-person to going online and back to going in-person, all in different circumstances. And many teachers were forced to stare at unresponsive black boxes all of last year. This has greatly influenced many teachers’ thoughts about their careers. But have the teachers been influenced enough to change careers? This year, most schools have enough teachers. But we wanted to find out if any of our teachers resigned or considered resigning?

How did our teachers feel about the pandemic? Were they more comfortable teaching online, or teaching face to face? I asked all of our teachers two questions: Has the experience of teaching during the pandemic made them think about changing careers, and why or why not? There was a wide range of interesting responses- some teachers almost resigned, and others never thought about it. 

Naturally, all of our teachers said they were affected by the pandemic. The interesting thing was that the teachers were affected at different levels. Some who were affected by the pandemic didn’t consider resigning, but others who were affected more strongly did consider resigning. 

Three out of the seven teachers I interviewed said the pandemic has caused them to think about resigning or changing careers. One teacher thought about resigning because they felt it was tiring to teach over zoom, and they even met with a retirement advisor. Others felt like online teaching took away the sensation of teaching away from them, and didn’t feel much interaction with the students, now that everyone’s camera was off. They felt like they were talking to a screen. One put in hours of extra time into their work to make their subject successful and felt that the amount of work they put into their job wasn’t worth the pay they were receiving. Another teacher even lost a family member to COVID. 

The other half of the teachers said the exact opposite of what the first half did. The other teachers felt that there was just as much interaction online as there was in-person, and changing to online teaching wasn’t a significant change for them. The pandemic caused one teacher to change careers to teaching because their original job was declining. The others were completely fine with the extra safety precautions and weren’t affected by the changes.

Teachers from other schools have also been influenced by the pandemic. They said the pandemic has not only been influencing their teaching format but their teaching quality as well. Some news outlets have also interviewed teachers as well, such as KSL news. Twenty-five percent of the teachers KSL news interviewed said the pandemic has made them consider resigning. Some said they were having trouble teaching over the internet, and others were tired of the mask-wearing and the constant sanitizing in in-person school. 

Another college asked for teachers’ opinions. Most of the teachers felt nervous and afraid about their jobs. They were extremely concerned. Since everyone had their camera off, they didn’t know whether their students were focusing on their lesson, or if they were zoning out. They were worried if students weren’t focusing on their lessons, they might perform poorly on their tests. And if they didn’t perform well on tests, would it affect their reputation as a teacher, or would parents become angry? They became anxious, and some even quit their jobs. The others that are still teaching felt uneasy.

The pandemic has obviously impacted educators because around half of our teachers have considered changing careers over the pandemic. It’s caused teachers to feel distressed. As students, we should value the opportunity we have to receive an education, knowing how risky it is for not only ourselves but for our teachers as well.