This has been a very unique school year for educators and students across the nation. Since March 2020, we have tried virtual teaching, face to face learning and hybrid models and none have been effective. More students are failing and the lack of parental support has become more pronounced. At the conclusion of this school year. many educators will walk away from this profession. Some will say it was because of the difficulty and demands of dealing with Covid. Some will say it’s because parents have failed in their roles and teachers don’t want to take on the task of dealing with students that have been at home for an extended period of time. The reality of it is teachers are going to walk away due to the stress that comes along with teaching. Teachers are stressed for a variety of reasons and many of those reasons will cause us to continue to have a shortage of teachers.
One of the top reasons teachers leave the profession is because the work and pay don’t equate. Teachers are required to plan, complete morning duty, afternoon duty, lunch duty and recess duty. They have to grade papers, write lesson plans, clean the classroom, make copies and then handle discipline. Very seldom do teachers have a full lunch and I can almost assure you few leave work at the designated time. Teachers have staff development, trainings, team meetings and are typically not compensated for anything extra. Most of it falls under “other duties as assigned”.
With all that teachers are responsible for doing and the amount of accountability that comes with the job, the level of respect is debilitated. Teachers take the blame for everything. The kids are not doing well in school; it’s the teacher’s fault. The lack of respect is shown every time teachers are denied adequate funds for supplies and preparation to teach the students.
Standardized testing is also tiring. Attending college for four years and never having an opportunity to engage your students and help them discover what is unique and interesting to them is a downer. Standardized testing has taken away so many learning experiences.
More importantly, the emotional toll of being in education is exhausting. Surveys show educators report their mental warfare is not good. When teachers physically leave for the day, they are still mentally and emotionally attached to their students and the demands of the day and the nest day. Many educators feel they never have time off.
After 25 years of teaching, I would have thought I would understand this profession as well as I understand who I am as a person. 25 years later, I’m starting to question this career. Five years ago, I would always say, “I’m good with it because I’m on the down side of this.” Five years later, I’m not good with it and the downside of it has me spiraling downhill. This year has caused me to question if I’ve wasted my time and efforts in this profession. I realize that in order to create and keep academic success, we have to build retention in our teachers. In order for that to happen, the intentions of our partners must change.
Have you done anything today to make an educator smile? Try it because they definitely need it.