Hundreds of teachers are leaving a void in their classrooms as many statewide are breaching their contracts half-way through the school year.
According to the Texas Education Agency, within the last year, there has been a 68 percent increase in the number of teachers leaving during their yearly contract. This has left many who stay behind like 4th and 5th grade teacher, Elisha Moberly, to deal with the consequences.
“Shout-out to the subs who step up, and come in, and serve as long-term subs for the district because, I mean, they’re our backbone at this point,” said Moberly.
Ector County Independent School District’s Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Gregory Nelson, says they saw a spike before and after Christmas holiday of teachers who wanted to end their contract early. “It leaves a vaccum. Are we able to put a new teacher in that classroom? Currently, it’s difficult with the number of vacancies we have,” said Nelson.
Moberly says one of the biggest issues that come from this is the lack of consistency students get once their primary teacher leaves. Often times they are not lucky enough to be notified ahead of time and given a proper farewell.
“The biggest issue with that is the lack of consistency that it creates for the students. Consistency in routine, consistency in environment, consistency in curriculum,” explained Moberly.
Another collateral damage are parents being left frustrated. Heidi Kirk has been an active member of Midland Independent School District for years, even being a teacher herself. But most importantly, having put five children through its program, she says having a passionate teacher who is willing to stay, and finding ways to make them want to stay, is key.
“If you miss something in let’s say math or science during a critical time, you may never catch back up. When I found out that my kid’s grades were affected… you get concerned,” said Kirk.
While Moberly understands the struggles of a teacher firsthand, she says it is important to remember why you started.
“I have 18 babies in my room. And I can’t imagine abandoning them in that way. And I think ultimately, that’s what it kind of comes down to.”