Why Teachers Teach

40 to 50 percent of teachers leave after the first five years. The Chronicle wanted to find out why they leave and why others stay.


Shelby Davis

In pre-AP Geometry, freshman Brooke Inman works in Mrs. Wuthrich’s third period class. “I like how we get to use calculators,” she said. “She really tries to help us when we don’t understand stuff.”

In spite of a 30 percent drop in people entering teacher preparation programs and statistics that show 50 percent of teachers leave the classroom in the first five years of their career, new teachers start every year. And sometimes, they stay.

First year English teacher Kristy Chamberlain was inspired to teach by one of her favorite high school teachers.

“She made it interesting, she made it fun and she made it something that I felt like I wanted to pass along to others,” Chamberlain said.

While she enjoys teaching, she is not in it solely for the money and finds joy in educating students.

“If you want to feel like you are part of the future, I think that’s one of the best ways,” Chamberlain said. “You have direct contact with people who will be the future.”

Chamberlain likes that some assignments give her insight on students.

“We see what they write,” she said. “That gives me an insight to what’s going on in their lives.”

Geometry teacher and coach Cheryl Wuthrich is no stranger to teaching.

On many days being a teacher is a glorious job — you watch the kids reach the highest highs. You are privileged to be part of an institution that produces the best of academics, arts, and citizenship.”

— Teacher Survey

She’s worked for 24 years in the education field and has worked for 16 years for WFISD. Before then, she didn’t always think she would become a teacher.

“I kind of came full circle and decided I love kids,” Wuthrich said. “I just wanted to help everybody learn.”

Wuthrich found math challenging and loves mysteries.

“I’ve always liked mysteries like the ‘who dun it?’,” she said. “When you try and solve for X it’s always like a mystery.”

She uses those methods to incorporate fun into learning, but math didn’t always come natural to her.

“It didn’t come easy to me, and I thought that it might not come easy for a lot of kids,” Wuthrich said. “I thought that I could explain it in an easier way to learn.”

Wuthrich likes the difference in personalities in different classes.

“You get a new group of kids all the time, so it’s never the same,” Wuthrich said. “Everybody has their own personalities.”

While she teaches the same material throughout the day, she adapts the work to fit each class.

“Even though you teach the same lesson it might be different for different kids,” Wuthrich said. “I like that you have to do something different for them to learn.”