Teacher stress is returning to normal. Here’s why some still may leave.

Nearly a quarter of all teachers—and more than one in three Black teachers—told RAND that they planned to resign at the end of the 2022-23 school year.

Teacher well-being appears to be recovering, with job-related stress returning to pre-pandemic levels, says a survey conducted in January 2023. Still, teachers are not feeling as good as other professionals in the workforce, according to the latest findings from the RAND Corporation’s 2023 State of the American Teacher Survey.

The number of teachers reporting frequent job-related stress dropped from 78% in 2021 to 58% in 2023. Among all working adults, frequent stress fell from 40% to 33%. Teachers also reported notably lower levels of resilience and higher levels of burnout and difficulty coping with job-related stress.

Job-related stress
(RAND Corporation)

Elementary school teachers were the most likely to report stress and burnout. Managing student behavior, improving academic achievement and administrative work were top sources of stress for all teachers, with Black teachers and male teachers also concerned about low salaries.

More from DA: Staffing has surged in schools, but enrollment is falling. What’s next?

Meanwhile, depression among teachers also decreased and now matches that of the wider workforce, where reports of depression have actually risen. And despite the decrease in stress and depression, a significant number of teachers are still thinking of quitting K12, with Black teachers far more likely to express an intention to leave, the poll declares.

Nearly a quarter of all teachers—and more than one in three Black teachers—told RAND that they planned to resign at the end of the 2022-23 school year. Female teachers, who reported much higher rates of frequent job-related stress and burnout, were also more likely than males to consider quitting their jobs.

Job-related stress: There’s more to it

“Disappointments of the job not being worth it,” salary and workload were the reasons given by teachers who planned to leave their jobs. On the other hand, those who planned to say cited student growth and forming positive relationships with students and other teachers as the top reasons.

Here are more findings from the 2023 State of the American Teacher Survey:

  • 26% of teachers said they sometimes or often feared for their safety at school.
  • Student misbehavior, active shooters and students getting into fights were the top three reasons teachers feared for their own safety.
  • More teachers said they had access to mental health support in 2023 compared to 2022.
  • Three-quarters of teachers said their school offered well-being or mental health support in 2023 but only slightly more than half indicated the services were adequate.
  • 25% of teachers reported that their school or district directed them to limit discussions about political and social issues in class; 65% decided on their own to limit such discussions.
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

Most Popular