Fear of mass teacher retirements due to COVID-19 may have been overblown

Jan Robertson has taught “pretty much everything” over the past 40 years: outdoor education, science, and teacher coaching.

But the coronavirus pandemic has meant Robertson, like colleagues across the country, has had to weigh whether to prioritize her health or the job of her dreams. After being told she would probably be teaching in a classroom in the fall, she made the “heart-wrenching” decision to leave her job as a science instructional coach at a Northern California school district. 

At 64, she “did not want to return to a classroom where I am old enough that I’m in that list of (high-risk factors),” she said.

Robertson isn’t alone in feeling boxed into a decision – one-third of teachers told Education Week in July they were somewhat or very likely to leave their job this year, compared with just 8% who leave the profession in a typical year. 

But while

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