Something like 40% of teachers quit within 5 years of teaching. It’s sad, but it’s true. And, I have countless friends and relatives that are in the same boat (and others that aren’t). After six years teaching, this is now my second year out of the classroom and not teaching.
The authors of Mission Possible have an explanation. They say stagnation, being unable to accomplish one’s job at a high level, is one of the greatest sources of low teacher morale.
I have to say, being discouraged is definitely one of the reasons that teachers have low morale. This discouragement isn’t always based on student accomplishment, in my opinion. There are many other hurdles and sources of discouragement along the way.
Why do I think this country treats teaching so differently than it does other professions?
Oh, this is a tough one. I think so many people have no respect for teachers and I’m not sure why. They are treated as babysitters instead of educators that are valued. After all, they are charged with the task of teaching our children. Often, teachers spend more waking hours with our children then we do as parents. And yet, there is so little support for them. I’m not just talking about the money, either. How many people go and help teachers out in their classrooms? Where else is somebody expected to keep 35+ children safe and secure at the same time, while (in my case) performing experiments with toxic chemicals and fire? And grade 150 tests weekly?
I think that too much of it is falling back on the teachers instead of the parents and children. I saw a comic that depicted a family with their child and teacher in the 50s and they were all yelling at the kid. Then, it said now and everybody (parents and child included) were yelling at the teacher.
When everybody gets back behind the teachers (administration, too), I think we’ll start to see some things happen. I feel too often the teachers’ ideas are looked over too quickly and not respected.
This book has some interesting ideas and success stories and I believe they are working in action at their schools 100%. I had a hard time with some of the statements that were made that seemed to be blanket statements for all students and parents, when they applied to their specific situation of charter schools. For example, my argument that parents aren’t helping in schools and don’t tend to back the teachers. The authors mentioned that they found parents to be very involved. But, I had to think about that. The parents that have kids in their school fill out applications and are willing to use a lottery to do everything in their power to get their kids into these charter schools. They applied for them. By default, these are already the parents that are going to bust their behinds for their kids.
It has nothing to do with their income level or poverty level; it’s who they are as parents. And while I don’t disagree that there are parents that make or break a school, you’ve got a selected pool of parents at a school that requires an application.
And, I’m certain they are aware of this, it was just interesting the way it was presented in the book.
Do I know the solution to the way teachers are treated here? I have no idea. I’m going to try to do everything in my power to make sure that my girls’ teachers have what they need to be successful in their classrooms; be it with supplies, time, volunteering or anything else.