Teachers say if their pay doesn't increase soon, schools won't have enough educators to keep classes in session.
While there have been significant gains made for the highest performing teachers in many districts overall teacher pay is still below other states in the nation.
It was the biggest concern for Texas teachers polled in November, beating out safety issues.
In November, 45% of teachers polled were calling for better pay, in January, 12% said they felt safe at work. The statistics appear to show teachers are feeling underpaid and undervalued.
"I heard last year people having breakdowns and anxiety, at the beginning of the school year I had a seizure and the doctor said most likely it's related to stress," said George Cuba, a teaching assistant in Irving Independent School District.
The American Federation of Teachers is a professional organization for teachers. They're planning to lobby state lawmakers to improve teacher pay this year, citing hazardous working conditions during the pandemic, and increased workloads to improve learning losses and minimize the impact of the pandemic.
"It's very upsetting I entered this career knowing I could not have this as a sole income when I have a family so I put my personal life on hold as many other teachers do of course," said Houston Independent School District teacher Nicolette Balough.
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The issues are all leading to what AFT warns is a growing teacher shortage in Texas and across the country.
"Of every new teacher we're hiring, 50% of them are leaving after the first year that's an alarming number," said Zeph Capo, President, American Federation of Teachers, Texas. "We're not going to be able to keep up with the number of teachers retiring right now."