Did they leave of their own accord? Were they pushed? Most likely, we are looking at a combination of both. We are a small school, too. The tiny pool of people willing to sub in our school has become fully occupied replacing the fallen and filling in for special education teachers with IEP (Individualized Instruction Plan) meetings.
1) Even when regular classrooms cannot find subs due to the disorder — and even chaos — that can break out in impoverished and urban classrooms, subs will usually work special education classrooms due to the smaller number of students. Six to twelve students are manageable. They had better be manageable, or it’s time to give up subbing or teaching altogether.
2) Many teachers who depart are well-liked by students. That guarantees a rough transition for almost all newcomers who take over their classrooms. A few years back, an angry principal moved a special education teacher who taught students with emotional and behavioral disorders, letting her know about her reassignment to another school on a Friday and ensuring she was gone by Monday. (The staff thought the teacher was doing an impressive job.) On Monday, students broke out the glass in the classroom door, and otherwise vandalized their classroom. Students tend to roll with maternity leaves, especially when they expect their teacher to return, but almost all other staffing transitions during the school year create trouble. We are a school of transitions, filled with students who have seen too many moves and changes. I try to call disconnected numbers regularly. Some of our students are sick at heart from the turbulence in their daily lives, wearied by too-many moves, too-many step-dads or -moms, and too many transitions in general. Classroom teachers often serve as anchors for these drifting students.
Eduhonesty: Admin has driven away almost all of our subs with performance demands that resulted in these teachers choosing jobs in other districts. When regular staff starts walking out the doors as well, perhaps admin should take a look at the plethora of small demands they are adding to the school day. I have a resignation letter waiting in my backpack for the day when I say, “That’s all folks!”, and I am pretty sure they will never find a sub with my unusual credentials to fill out the rest of this school year. I plan to stick out the year for my kids, but even my love and dedication come with limits.
“First do no harm,” the motto says. At the point where I feel the demands of my job are harming me, or the demands I must make of my students are harming them, I may join the exodus. Other teachers are talking about quitting around me, or counting the days until they can retire. A few of these teachers probably should go. Unfortunately, others are hard-working, talented professionals who know their job and their students.