Take it or leave it

Higher education faces great resignation following global pandemic

It is no secret that the life of an educator is no walk in the park. Between the countless hours spent tailoring lessons to various learning styles to the constant battle for increased wages, educators nationwide have found that their jobs extend way beyond the classroom. 

Recent studies have shown that the demand for educators has increased following the COVID-19 pandemic. The theory that the pandemic has caused an increase in educators leaving their profession has been observed by various companies and labor unions like the National Education Association and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. 

“Eighty-six percent of members say they have seen more educators leaving the profession or retiring early since the start of the pandemic in 2020,” the National Education Association stated. 

This nationwide staff shortage, commonly referred to as “The Great Resignation,” can be attributed to the unfair wages and pay gaps, benefits or lack thereof, job flexibility and the increased amount of stress that the pandemic has induced. 

 According to an article published by the Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC) in 2020,  “teachers make 20 percent less than other professionals with similar education and experience.”  In addition, the pandemic introduced a new narrative to educators; working remotely. The disappearance of work-life balance, lack of empathy and support for educators as well as the prioritization of dollars has driven educators to seek better opportunities elsewhere. 

Various universities, Tarleton State University included, have fallen subject to the great resignation. 

Since 2021, Tarleton State University has fallen victim to the great resignation in a number of departments including student publications, employee services, campus recreation and many more.  

“I think the work I did at Tarleton was valued by students and other staff members, but as more and more was put on my plate it wasn’t valued in terms of more compensation for more quality work,” former Coordinator for Student Media, Caitlyn Oxford said. “The thing I miss most about Tarleton is my students. I watched many of them grow from their early college years to now and it was one of the biggest joys in my life. I miss seeing their faces everyday and hearing their stories and successes. They motivated me to come to work everyday and keep doing what I was doing. As an alum, my love for Tarleton will always be there, but I will miss my students everyday. I’m very proud of every one of them.” 

As of August 25, 2022, there are 44 full time positions open at the Tarleton Stephenville campus, seven at the Tarleton Fort Worth campus and two at the Tarleton Waco campus. 

As the demand for educators increases, the starting salary for first year teachers has slowly increased. However, things have yet to change for people  in higher education. The battle between educators and the educational system has proven to be never ending. The Great Resignation has hit the nation hard and approximately 2.6 million United States educators have left their jobs since the COVID-19 pandemic. The fight for educators will continue, many of us hope to see a brighter light at the end of their never ending tunnel. Students rely on their teachers and staff everyday, everyone begins to fall short when there is no one to teach, but too many to listen. 

For more information about the nationwide staff shortage, visit www.naspa.org/blog/take-this-job-and-change-it-the-great-resignation-in-higher-education