Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Staving Off a teacher Shortage in Baltimore city Public Schools

Across the country, stories about nationwide teacher shortages that are high on hyperbole and short on statistics are inundating the news. What is lost in these stories are detailed accounts from those most acutely feeling the challenge – teachers.

In the first installment of our ongoing research on teacher retention and burnout in Baltimore City Public Schools, Should I Stay or Should I Go? Staving Off a Teacher Shortage in Baltimore City Public Schools centers the conversation on the impressions and experiences of Baltimore City Public School teachers.

We reached out to educators across the city and heard from 427 across 132 schools in a survey conducted at the end of the 2021-2022 school year. Teachers shared with us what motivates them to stay, what drives them to leave, and what would make them more satisfied in their teaching jobs. We used the data to create this brief, and we hope it provides Baltimore City Public Schools with information critical to keeping educators in the classroom.

Themes and Findings:

Factors Motivating Teachers to Stay:

Many teachers talked about their love for their STUDENTS as their primary reason to stay. Building relationships with students and seeing their growth can make teachers feel positive about their teaching job.

COMPENSATION is another factor that motivates teachers to stay with City Schools. The salary they are able to earn under the Career Pathways for Teachers model and the benefits package available to teachers are major factors in overall teacher satisfaction.

SCHOOL LEADERS  – typically the principal and assistant principal(s) – also play a large role in keeping teachers with City Schools. Many teachers talked about how important the school administration is to their job satisfaction.

Factors Causing Teachers to Contemplate Leaving:

An ever-growing ADMINISTRATIVE WORKLOAD is a major source of dissatisfaction for City Schools teachers. Teachers feel overwhelmed with the amount of documentation and additional “paperwork” outside of their typical lesson planning and classroom responsibilities.

Many teachers named a lack of leadership and support from SCHOOL LEADERS as a major cause of dissatisfaction with their jobs.

STUDENT BEHAVIOR pushed teachers to the brink during the 2021-22 school year, and it continues to weigh heavily as they enter the 2022-23 school year. They see a notable difference in students’ ability to socialize, interact, and resolve conflict among themselves after so much time spent in often isolated virtual learning settings.

If you are a City Schools Teacher, we want to hear from you!

We are currently conducting more comprehensive interviews with a representative sample of Baltimore City Public School teachers, which will inform a full-length report to be released in 2023. If you are a City Schools teacher interested in being interviewed for this project, please email or call or text 443-826-9010.

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