There is a new plan to bring in more teachers and keep others from quitting. The Lee County School Board admits the great resignation is hitting the district hard.
Employees are leaving on short notice after years of dedication to the field.
Teachers say they’ve had enough. The stress is too much. So they quit.
Former Lee County teacher Stephanie Canada said, “I will say that no amount of money would have made me stay. There isn’t… They could have paid me $100,000 a year. I wouldn’t stay in the conditions that it was. That I was teaching in.”
Canada quit her teaching job in August of 2020. She said the pressure of ever-growing class sizes got to be overwhelming.
Those demands have only intensified this school year.
“We need to do something about it,” said Betsy Vaughn with the Lee County School Board.
That’s why the school board held a workshop on Monday to brainstorm ways to keep teachers and make them feel valued.
Rob Dodig, the executive director of human resources for the School District of Lee County, said, “it is within our control to try to prevent people from moving to other employment.”
The school district’s HR team presented a list of ideas, including signing and retention bonuses, flexible schedules, childcare, and even job-sharing. A teacher may teach a class a few days a week while another teacher covers the remaining days.
Canada said she would like to see Lee County schools expand mental health and wellness initiatives. “The class sizes contributed to my poor mental health, and I made the decision for myself to leave, and maybe if I had similar support in that realm, I could have gotten some more help.”
Board members said they’re anxious to turn ideas into action.
“I think we just need to roll up our sleeves now and get to work,” said school board member Mary Fischer.
School board member Gwyn Gittens agrees. “People will work for hope towards a better future.”
The board knows a better future starts with keeping teachers in the classroom.