As the school year continues, the teacher shortage has become more apparent.
Some, like Melanie Lynch, say the pay makes living hard.
“Everyone’s gonna say, ‘Well, you went into teaching because of your heart,’ and I say, ‘Yes, of course, but my heart also needs money to survive,'” said Lynch.
After six years teaching high school in Lee County, Lynch said she and some of her coworkers gave up and left.
“At a certain point, we just said, ‘can’t take this anymore,'” Lynch said, “because of the teacher shortage that was there, they were putting a lot more responsibility on the teachers that were already there.”
The Teachers Association of Lee County said there are still 200 teacher openings in the district.
“We were just placing students amongst the three different rooms, which wasn’t necessarily meeting all their academic needs,” said a former Lee County Schools special education teacher who wished to remain anonymous.
She worked for nearly eight years and left in August. She now teaches out of state, making more money.
“You’re always thinking about your kids and are they safe, are they not safe? Do they have a good home? Are they going to get in trouble when they go home? Like those kinds of aspects as well that the job just never ends. It just doesn’t end at that time, and I just feel like we’re very devalued,” Lynch said.