Teacher's Co-Workers Can't Believe She's Leaving For A Different Career — 'It's Not The 90s, My New Job Is Better'

The days when teaching was a secure job with tons of benefits have been over for a long time. Is it really surprising so many teachers are bailing?

Stressed out teacher changing careers Nicoleta Ionescu / Shutterstock

Among certain people, the perception persists that teaching is a cushy job. "I'd love to only work nine months out of the year," people scoff any time a teacher's strike erupts, or a teacher takes to social media to vent.

However, the experience of a young teacher on Reddit reveals just how much the profession has changed and why it is absurd to find things like teacher shortages surprising.

The teacher is changing careers for substantially better pay and benefits. 

Summers off, long weeks of vacation time, and a solid pension are the benefits that people usually cite when talking about what a great job teaching is. They claim these benefits make it worth the struggles with students, parents, faculty, and, in some places, politicians.


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But between punishingly low salaries, widespread student behavior problems, conflicts with parents and an ongoing list of other crises and entanglements, that is simply no longer the case for all too many teachers. 


This is why one teacher on Reddit is struggling to wrap her head around her colleagues' reactions to her recent resignation — not just from her school but from the teaching profession entirely.

Her co-workers can't believe she's leaving behind the benefits of teaching.

"I am resigning, and I feel like other teachers at my school are literally acting like I am dying or that something is horribly wrong," she wrote, adding that her colleagues "are acting like [resignation] is some unheard-of thing and that I must be seriously ill or dying."

"I also keep hearing about how I will miss certain things about teaching," the soon-to-be former teacher wrote, saying her colleagues have tried to cajole her to stay by reminding her of "all the breaks and summers off" — benefits she's not able to even use because of her low pay.

@yourtango Low salaries and long work weeks have left many teachers feeling broke and completely burned out#teachersoftiktok #education #schoolbus #salary ♬ original sound - YourTango

"I’m in my 20s and have student debt," she wrote. "I still work during breaks and work [double] during summer."


As for benefits and retirement? "My new job has great benefits, better retirement, is fully remote, and pays more with a significantly higher pay ceiling," she shared. 

The bottom line? "It is not the 90s," she wrote. Times have definitely changed, and for young people who've just entered the teaching profession, they were never good to begin with.

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The benefits of teaching have fundamentally changed—or disappeared entirely — and this is fueling massive resignations and shortages.

Contrary to this teacher's colleagues' beliefs, it is definitely not unheard of to leave behind the supposedly solid job of teaching. In fact, teacher resignations hit an all-time high in many parts of the country in 2023. 


And while some experts expect what research firm Gradient Learning has dubbed "the Great Teacher Resignation" will peak in 2024 and begin to subside, the massive teacher shortages it has created are nonetheless dire — some 86% of schools struggled to hire adequate staff for the 2023-2024 school year.

@kellygirl1966 Our Nation's education system is under attack! There is a mass exodus of teachers quitting and leaving the system and never looking back. Our children are no longer being taught to prepare for their future but they are being taught to take the test and bring in more funding. Well, they are fed up and rebelling against the system and saying they've had enough!! Our math scores in the US have dropped for the first time ever. Ladies and gentlemen, our system is under attack! We must reboot the system and start over! #education #teacher #educators #educationsystem #soundthealarm #massexodusofteachers ♬ original sound - Kelly

Meanwhile, teachers' futures have never looked more uncertain. Teacher pensions are drastically underfunded amid constant constant budget cuts and fiscal crises in states all over the country — and in many states, teachers are not eligible for social security because these pension plans exist. This means many teachers face the very real possibility that they will be left high and dry in their golden years. 

And given what teachers put up with in the here and now, that's an astonishingly unfair prospect. Chief among the reasons cited for the waves of teacher resignations are the usual suspects like low pay and lack of support from both parents and administrators. 


But also making the list are horrifyingly dystopian forces like the constant threat of gun violence, political attacks from right-wing legislators and parents, and vile accusations of "grooming" and other improprieties for being LGBTQ+ affirming. 

@officialnancydrew it is a very scary time to be in education in america, as a teacher you are attacked for so many reasons - now the far right is after you as well. the right is trying to destroy public education and it is sickening. this was a very scary time for me when i was featured, i feel for those who have had more of this than me - or any at all. #teachertok #leftisttiktok #leftistteacher #thisisamerica #publiceducation #texasleftist ♬ original sound - lindsey louise

"It is not the 90s" indeed — and nobody should be surprised that a young woman in her 20s is running for the exits at the first sign of a better job. The reward of shaping young lives for the better can only go so far, especially when it doesn't pay the bills — and could at seemingly any moment come with a violent trade-off.


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.