Philadelphia teachers anxiously await word on their jobs

The next week will be a tense one for many teachers across Philadelphia as they wait to find out if they’ll be back in the classroom next year. A judge Monday ordered the school district to put massive layoffs on hold until a hearing on Tuesday.

Social studies teacher Sarah Burgess, who is in her first year at University City High School after leaving a job in Louisiana, has received a layoff notice. She said she doesn’t know what she’ll do if she loses her job. She said sometimes she gets excited about planning for next year,

“And then I have to kind of check myself because I’m not sure if that’s something I’m going to be doing,” said Burgess. “I do feel like this kind of instability, just with budget cuts in general and the lack of resources that public schools have and this particular situation right now, is a real stress on students.”

That stress is getting to many teachers.

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Steve Renzi is a special education teacher at Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts–but not for long.

“I probably will be making some money playing poker, I might work at a flower shop, I might like pick up some shifts at a coffee shop I used to work at,” Renzi said.

After just a few years on the job, Renzi said he’s not going back next year to make room for people truly in need of their teaching jobs.

“I’m single, I’m still in my 20s,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to like be a martyr or anything, but I feel like other people sort of needed this job more than me.”

Renzi said he prefers the job search challenge to the stress of teaching right now.

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