I came across an article yesterday that really just made me stop and think. At first, I thought it was a typo, but the more I looked into it, it seems that it's accurate.

Almost half of the teachers across the United States are thinking about quitting their jobs according to data from Teachers Pay Teachers. In fact, the data states that out of the six thousand teachers that were surveyed, 48 percent of them said they had thought about quitting their jobs in the last 30 days.

48 percent? Really?

Let's look at the state of Montana, shall we?  Here in Bozeman and Gallatin County, there is a desperate need for substitute teachers according to recent news reports, but what about the state as a whole.  How is Montana doing?

According to the Daily Inter Lake, Montana is in a teacher shortage crisis, and it's continuing to escalate.  To throw fuel on the fire, there is a large shortage of teachers in rural schools and no state has more rural schools than the state of Montana according to the montanafreepress.org

Elementary classroom setting. Focus on teacher and chalkboard.

Why are teachers leaving?  What can we do as a state to recruit and retain good, quality teachers for the students of Montana?

First, a pay increase might help.

The National Center for Education Statistics states that the salary for starting teachers in Montana is just over 35 thousand dollars a year.  The average starting salary across the nation is 42 thousand.  This puts Montana in the bottom 5 of the states with the lowest pay for teachers. Most folks couldn't live in a lot of Montana on that salary.

Second, more support for teachers by hiring more teachers.

Many classrooms find themselves with more students, which results in more stress put on the teacher.  It certainly doesn't help the learning process if a teacher is spending more time watching over a crowded classroom, than teaching students.

Third, let's let teachers teach.

Maybe I'm old school, but I believe that teachers should be able to do what they do best.  Teach. Speaking with some of my teacher friends, a few of them have told me that so much of what they do is preparing kids for this test or that test.  Much of what they do is prepare kids to take whatever test the government requires, opposed to teaching kids.

Finally, let's celebrate teachers. Especially good teachers.  There are people that teach for a living and there are people that are born to teach.  Those that are born to teach are who you want to teach your kids.

Credit: Daily Inter Lake, Montana Free Press. NCES

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