Why I haven’t quit teaching

Our last two posts have been on the theme of why Utah teachers are staying in the profession. These have been highly read article posts! With so much emphasis on why teachers are leaving, maybe we should change our focus to why teachers are staying. Is that the key to retaining high quality teachers? Focus on increasing the reasons to stay instead of focusing on all the reasons to leave?

To continue our study of why Utah teachers are staying, I’d like to share Michele Jones’ story:


The end of last year I had a sad experience. A colleague of mine who started teaching the same year I did informed me he had decided to quit the teaching profession. He had many reasons why: the work load, the constantly changing curriculum and programs, punitive teacher evaluation metrics, money, the amount of stress, lack of supports for students – and then he offered to put my name in for a similar position he was taking: a 9–5 job making almost double my current salary, but outside the field of education. I did not even think about it. I said no thanks.

Then I started thinking about why. Why do I continue teaching in my classroom? There are so many reasons to leave. At first the answer seemed simple: I stay for my students. But for my fellow colleagues who have left the teaching profession, I know this same reason (the students) made it hard, even excruciating, to leave and yet it was not enough to make them stay.

Feeling that I can make a difference for students

Then I realized the difference. I stay because I feel I can successfully teach and have a positive influence on the lives of my students. On the surface, this may seem like a slight difference, but in actuality it is significant and nuanced. There are so many factors that contribute to the fact that I feel capable of making a positive difference in the lives of my students.

The students are always a reason teachers stay, but Michele shares even more reasons she chooses to teach! Read the full story on Sevenzo.

Debbie, Dave, and Michele are all excellent examples of the teachers we want in the profession! Thanks for sharing your story and inspiring other teachers. Leave us a comment and share why YOU stay.

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