George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” It was a line used to disparage teachers that meant that if someone was really good at something, they would be doing that for a living. If someone was not that talented at it, they would teach it for a living. Woody Allen added a bit more to it as well. He said, and I may be paraphrasing a bit, “And those that can’t teach, teach gym.” Ouch!
Unfortunately, in most places across the globe, teachers continue to still get very little respect. However, the amount of work placed on them is at an all time high. Educators are supposed to teach, be therapists, medical professionals, counselors, behavior specialists, and be on call almost 24 hours a day. Teachers are supposed to do all this at a salary that is tough to live on. Meanwhile, they take belittling from students, parents, administrators, and the government.
It Was Bound to Happen!
There are teacher shortages around the world in most places, yet people act surprised and bewildered to hear this information. If you have ever taught in a classroom before, then you know it is both strenuous and mentally exhausting. Still, a lot of careers are like this. However, let’s look at a few of the exact reasons why half of all educators leave the profession during their first five years of teaching.
The old saying goes that someone enters into the teaching field knowing that they are never going to become rich. Still, rich is one thing, but it would be nice to not have to get a second job to support the family. Many teachers have a second job just to be able to put food on the table and pay their bills.
Teachers earn salary increases less than other professions that require at least a four-year degree. In fact, a person with a four-year degree will enter their profession making 50 percent more than an educator that has been already teaching for ten years, according to a recent study.
Tax dollars pay teachers’ salary. The government cannot make their own budget work, so they make cuts from certain areas which affect all of our budgets. Schools receive less and less money and they are supposed to make it work. In many districts, salaries have been frozen for up to five years now with no chance of a raise. If you had just started teaching a year or two ago and was told not to expect a raise anytime soon, would you stick around?
If my teacher would have contacted my parents about something that I did in the classroom, I would not have been able to sit down for a week. I would have missed dinner for a couple nights. I would have had to write an apology to my teacher promising never to misbehave again. Basically, I would have had to throw myself on the mercy of the court!
Flash-forward to present day and you will see something entirely different. If a teacher contacts most parents nowadays, they have to spend an hour on the phone or conversing through email on how the child misbehaved in the classroom. Over half of the time, the parent will not listen to what happened, and will ask their child to explain it instead. The parents will then side with their child and not punish them. Instead they will email the teacher stating that they feel the teacher is not being fair or is picking on their child. They will then threaten to contact administration if the teacher’s behavior does not change.
In the meantime, the unfit parents will put a blast out on social media declaring how horrible their child’s teacher is (using your full name) and generally making your life as unpleasant as possible. All because the teacher wrote the child’s name on the board or kept the kid inside from recess. Every teacher has gone through this, often many times a year. And then people wonder, why are teachers leaving the profession?
It’s Not Just Teaching Anymore
The number one reason that makes most teachers leave the profession is handling all the extras that have been thrown into teaching nowadays. It’s no longer left up to the classroom teacher just to teach! Every teacher has to take into account all the standardized testing. If students do not do well on it, then the teacher can be disciplined or let go, regardless if these students were well below grade level before the year even started.
Teachers must attend workshops, conferences, and meetings sometimes several times a week. Who has time to endure all of these and still have moments to grade papers and enter everything online? This is not even counting the ten to twenty emails teachers are expected to return everyday.
Administration support, parental support, and respect is at an all-time low. Every job has its drawbacks is the thinking, so people will still become Education majors in college. All of the horror stories about teaching can’t be true, can it? First year teachers will enter into education with hopes and dreams about changing the world. By their second year, they are asking themselves if they can handle this career. By year five, they are realizing it is still almost thirty years until retirement and things aren’t getting any better. Only the captain has to go down with a sinking ship. It’s okay for everyone else to jump off.