A recently released report revealed that two-thirds of Wyoming's primary and secondary educators would leave teaching entirely if they could.

According to the report, conducted by University of Wyoming Assistant Professor of Educational Research and Methods, Dr. Mark Perkins, 65% of Wyoming's teachers agreed or strongly agreed to the statement, "If I could leave teaching entirely, I would, but I feel I have to stay in teaching due to financial or other reasons."

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Mental health reasons were cited as a strong factor in teachers wanting to leave the field, with 62.8% of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing with the statement, "My mental/emotional health makes me think about quitting teaching."

The report, which delves heavily into mental health support, cites that there is a strong correlation between teachers receiving both professional and community support and their wanting to leave.

"Teaching is a challenging job requiring a multitude of interpersonal skills, external pressures, emotional attachment to students and families, as well as collaborative activities," the report states. "Teachers may often be exposed to tragic events, volatile students and colleagues, unpredictable parents, and pressures to increase student outcome and performance. A teacher's day is filled with uncountable social interactions with a variety of emotional contexts. One moment might require them to react to disorderly behaviors. Teaching is a mentally, physically and emotionally taxing endeavor."

As a result, the report's first recommendation is to expand mental health services to educators in the state.

"We cannot claim to improve the mental health of our children or our community without also focusing on the caretakers and stewards," the report says, continuing, "We must allow teachers to take time and seek treatment and support from therapists. It must be done in a way that is safe, effective, compassionate and helps them cope with the stress and demands of their profession."

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