An Insider’s Look Into the Struggles of Modern Teachers

Why I quit teaching cover_modern teachers

Teaching certainly has its positives: spreading knowledge to young minds, making a difference, decorating a classroom, and working from home over the summer! So why, after only three years, have I decided to quit teaching?

On paper, a career as a teacher appears both fulfilling and challenging. Everyone acknowledges that teaching a room full of children in this day and age isn’t a walk in the park. However, teaching is more than just standing in a room sharing what you know to a group of kids. It involves careful planning, taking the time to hone your craft, and discovering how to present your information in ways that hold a child’s attention. Developing that system is difficult, yet incredibly rewarding once you see that look of understanding on a child’s face after they struggled for days to comprehend.

Those moments make teaching feel worth the frustrations. Many teachers agree that witnessing their students improve throughout the school year can renew their motivation and propel them to the finish line. Over the last couple of years, that was my same motivation. I genuinely enjoyed hearing a student’s fluency improve when they read aloud and celebrated their milestones. I put my own needs on the back burner in order to accommodate my district and students.

Therein lies the problem. Districts are under immense pressure from their states to provide improved test scores and grades. Schools are forced to compete for funding for their students. In turn, teachers are strongly encouraged to lift students’ grades a few points in order for that child to advance to the next grade level. To accommodate these expectations, educators sacrifice their personal time, health, money, and sometimes even morals, simply to establish consistency in their classrooms.

Educators are literally “teaching to the tests”.

As I looked back at my last couple years of teaching, I realized that I have always been dissatisfied with the direction the American school system is headed, yet sacrificed my own ideals in order to meet my district’s expectations. In modern America, the emphasis on teaching is not on equipping our children with life skills they can utilize now and as adults, but instead, the emphasis is on ensuring each child scores above a certain percentage on tests. Educators are literally “teaching to the tests”.

So what can be done?

For starters, we need to change the atmosphere of competition around educating, and instead emphasize the importance of students acquiring skills that will benefit them on their way to adulthood. Teachers also need support in their classrooms so that they have time and energy to attend to the emotional needs of their students. Educators genuinely care about their students’ success and enjoy watching them progress.

If you’re a parent, please show your child’s teacher some love. You may not agree with everything they say or do, but they wake up every day with your child’s best interests at heart and will continue to do so throughout their career. Show that teacher you appreciate their efforts. A simple phrase of encouragement can lift anyone’s spirits and will only benefit the level of their teaching. Teachers are forming the future of our society, and we need to help them continue being both challenged and rewarded for their accomplishments.

Want to read more articles by this author? Visit her blog MERMAID TRAVELER to join in her adventures.

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