9 reasons why teachers quit the profession before retirement.

Why Black Teachers Walk Away | Edutopia

In every career path and profession, many people quit even before it’s time to retire. There are always more negative than positive reasons that usually push them towards this decision. Teachers for example, quit due to overworking, underpayment and not getting the respect they think they deserve.

With some reasons, teachers can always opt to stay, but some don’t leave them that kind of option. Here they are;

1. Effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Statistics reveal that due to the recent pandemic, 1 in 4 teachers considering a new career path. In the pandemic, all schools temporarily closed in an effort to contain the virus, but the abruptness didn’t leave teachers the same, effects including;

  • Many teachers were reportedly depressed and anxious due to the pandemic-induced poverty and joblessness. Reports revealed many suicide cases among teachers.
  • Teachers started looking for different jobs, and some got better ones.
  • Small businesses were a perfect second option for teachers. Some started hawking clothes and selling vegetables at market stalls.
  • They started learning and acquiring new skillsets like building, tailoring, baking, etcetera.

Majority of the teachers that tried doing something else and succeeded, didn’t consider returning to the teaching profession.

2. Burnout

Burnout is the long term exhaustion and diminished interest. In simple terms, this is when a teacher gets tired beyond repair. Burnout is more dependent on the internal circumstances at the workplace. Here are a few causes of burnout.

  • Overworking due to staff shortages
  • Underappreciation of their efforts

With psychological assistance and a few measures like taking a break and reducing the time you spend in the school premises, you can possibly reverse the effects of burnout. However, sometimes you just have to press the eject button.

3. Underpayment.

Underpayment is a different form of torture, especially to someone that spent their years trying to learn a skill, and more years delivering it passionately.

When teachers are underpaid at the workplace, it is natural of them to start looking in other directions in hopes to find an alternative. As soon as they get a better alternative, they never hesitate to quit the job, sometimes not even waiting for their salary.

4. Disrespect.

Depending on the character of the school administrator, teachers don’t get treated equally. Some are valued and respected while others are disrespected and constantly reminded of how easily they can be replaced.

But no matter how it comes, disrespect is a severe disincentive to hard work, and it’s only a matter of time until the workplace is insufferable.

However, the director or headmaster might not be the only one disrespecting teachers. Sometimes, it’s these other regular teachers with a little higher pay and a little more authority, that love to treat others like they amount to nothing.

When this happens, it’s usually a red flag!

5. Toxic & unsupportive work climate

Toxicity is in almost every workplace, but the level differs. Sometimes, it is due to competition that things usually get heated and unbearable. Examples of toxicity include;

  • Unhealthy competition at the workplace, culminating into sabotage, hatred and extremities like attempts on rival’s life.
  • Discrimination at the workplace, where people that are related to the administrators are usually the ones that are treated better.
  • Sexism. Women are usually caught up in this rabbit hole. You almost can’t get anything unless you leverage your body first.

Sometimes, you might think of trying to tolerate these conditions, but sooner or later, you get tired and give up.

6. Better financial and career opportunities

Sometimes, it’s nothing negative. Some people just have it in them to not settle for less. They don’t seek comfort, and they always believe there is something more they can do.

When teachers get better jobs in government organizations, NGO’s and corporate companies, they quit the teaching profession without hesitation.

7. No career improvement

In every normal career, a teacher expects to improve in  the following ways;

  • Get promoted in ranks at the workplace, like becoming heads of departments, deputy directors, Dean of Studies (DOS), etcetera.
  • Get a pay raise.
  • Become a UNEB examiner.
  • Improve their education and go for Master’s, PhD or other courses they’d love to pursue.

The above are all long term goals and deserve a little patience, but if you spend a decade doing the same thing and you’re still at the same level, maybe it’s time to look somewhere else.

8. Illness

This is inevitable in a way. Other things are tolerable, but not this one. When a teacher develops an illness that doesn’t allow them to stand in the classroom and deliver lessons like they should, it’s time to quit. Examples include;

  • Cancer
  • Contagious illnesses, especially the respiratory ones
  • Permanent injuries or loss of body parts

9. Getting fired

Getting fired is one thing you can’t usually wrap your head around, especially if you didn’t expect it. It can always happen abruptly, for sensible or even stupid reasons.

Of course this isn’t the end of everything for a teacher, because you can easily go out there and look for somewhere else to continue your career from.

However, some teachers find the trauma unbearable, so they decide to give up on the teaching profession and try their luck elsewhere.


The teaching profession has been overly underrated, especially recently during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, teachers remain the most important professionals out there, no matter what they teach. Therefore, it’s the job of stakeholders to lower the levels of brain drain in the teaching profession.

Comments are closed.