Despite low pay and more demands, some Central Florida teachers ready to return to work

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — For Emily Gorentz, another year of teaching fifth grade is right around the corner.

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“I know no matter how terrible the day was, I did a good thing,” she said.

But she said there’s always the thought of not going back to the classroom.

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“There’s so much more data monitoring, there’s so much more testing,” Gorentz said. “There’s so much more expectation of how to handle a student’s mental health crisis. (There’s) nothing taken off your plate, just more and more constantly added.”

She’s not alone in those feelings. Classrooms are without teachers right now across Central Florida.

Osceola County Schools said they have 330 teacher vacancies in the district right now.

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There’s a slightly different story just north of there, in Seminole County. There, the district was about 131 teaching positions short before retirements and resignations, resulting in about 2.3% of teachers needing to be hired.

Florida Education Association said the state ranks in the bottom five nationally for teacher pay. See the full list by clicking here. (Note: link opens an Excel spreadsheet.)

Classes in the region begin on Aug. 10.

READ: Florida school grades: How did your district do?

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.