I don’t know about you, but I became a teacher for the money.
*Pauses for laughter*
The fact that education doesn’t pay the big bucks is no secret, and it’s apparently not a deterrence for aspiring teachers either. In fact, we willingly step foot into a profession where the stress is high and the pay is low, and we love the hell out of it anyway because we’re passionate about kids. Anyone in a career dedicated to serving others will likely agree: they’re in it for the people. Despite fundamental similarities to other public servants, educators seem to suffer the brunt of public disdain. The blatant disrespect plays a huge factor in high teacher turnover rates.
Educators have been dealing with harsh criticisms and unrealistic expectations for years
And not just from parents. The disrespectful views and attitudes of parents frequently pass to their kids, who seem to think they are entitled to do whatever they want in our schools. From refusing to comply with simple classroom rules like complete the assigned work to spewing whatever disrespectful nonsense they hear at home, the frustrating behavior of students won’t be improving any time soon, largely due to administration completely outside of our control.
The administrators who should have our backs when it comes to disciplining students are actually enabling the insolent behavior with laughable—or lacking—consequences. It seems commonplace these days for principals to side with the misbehaving students or angry parents as if the customer satisfaction approach to education is synonymous with problem-solving and successful learning. What’s more is that administrators then force teachers’ hands to pass and promote these students simply to appease angry moms or to get rid of the “problem” student. All this does is empower angry parents and step on teachers’ toes, one of the most frustrating forms of professional disrespect.
Too many administrators have forgotten what it’s like to be in the classroom, expecting teachers to change water into wine with limited resources and support. Student issues like learning disabilities and mental health issues are prevalent in schools today, but instead of addressing the root cause of these issues, Professional Development remains devoted to pointless nonsense like 5 More Ways to Include Unnecessary Technology That Will Work Only Half the Time into Daily Instruction.
Teachers are leaving the profession at an unprecedented rate
Is it any wonder so many teachers are walking? As if the plethora of unsupportive parents and staff isn’t bad enough, educators aren’t even afforded the most basic tenet of professional courtesy: respect for our time.
How many pointless meetings are we expected to attend?
How many more times will we lose our lunch or planning period to put out another proverbial fire or tend to a matter that “just can’t wait?”
WHEN WILL WE HIRE ENOUGH SUBS TO COVER CLASSES?
And the interruptions don’t stop at work; there’s a lack of regard for our privacy, too. Pro tip: if you see your kid’s teacher at the Farmer’s Market, please note that is not a good time to approach them about their semester exam. Would you ask your dermatologist to check out a suspect mole if you bumped into them at a restaurant? I really hope not, but people never cease to amaze me these days…
You’d be hard-pressed to find a group of comparably educated and experienced professionals whose salaries are as low as teachers’ and who remain in their careers despite being constantly metaphorically and sometimes literally shit on.
Considering the maltreatment of educators in this country, the only thing about the teacher turnover rate that surprises me is that it’s not higher.