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Teachers are leaving the profession before the upcoming school year. Here’s why

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — More than half of all teachers said they plan on leaving the profession sooner than they originally planned, including right now, according to data from the National Education Association.

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For Katie Turkelson, a Seminole County teacher, she said teachers are asked to double their workload, and she’s calling it quits after a decade-long career teaching English, journalism, yearbook and digital design.

Turkelson said the summer of 2020, the height of the pandemic, wasn’t easy. Like many teachers, she was faced with whether or not to keep going back to the classroom and face the unknown.

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“Even though I knew it was going to be different and challenging, it was one of those, ‘if I can get through it, it will get better on the other side,’” she said. “I kept going through it for a solid two years.”

The dust from the pandemic settled, and teaching became an even harder task than before.

“(Students) didn’t know how to function, they didn’t know how to communicate with one another, they didn’t know how to communicate with the teachers,” Turkelson said.

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Low pay, mounting demands and school shooting worries were the last straw.

The Florida Education Association said there are more than 9,500 teaching or support staff shortages open.

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In districts like Seminole County, where Turkelson taught, there are eight elementary, six middle school and nine high school teaching positions currently available.

Osceola County, a much larger district, said they have 330 classroom vacancies.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.

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