Why do teachers leave the profession they love? Why are teachers currently retiring as soon as they are eligible? Why are the education programs at colleges and universities down by 50%? Why do 50% of new teachers call it quits by their 5th year? Why are teachers taking pay cuts to work for charter schools and private schools? Why is a school district holding a job fair one week before teachers come back for next year? As a candidate for the Orange County School Board Chair position, teacher retention is very important to me. I believe I can reverse the trends of teacher shortages, early retirements, walk-offs, frustration, and low morale. That’s why I’m running for a 50% pay cut...the problems we are facing in education call for people to step up and speak up and bring a voice of understanding and common sense to education.
My thoughts on why teachers leave...
1.) Marzano-styled micromanagement in the name of "best practice". The "one-way" mentality approach to teaching.
2.) The 24/7 demand to prepare, teach, and grade if you want to be successful as a teacher...especially early on as a new teacher.
3.) All the "extra" work that seems to grow each year.
4.) Low Pay...you could make a lot more money elsewhere without all the stress and micromanagement.
5.) Lack of support for student discipline and student disrespect.
6.) The field of education is moving in a direction that many teachers strongly disagree with and believe it is harmful to students...they see the effects on their own children.
7.) Bonuses based on high-stakes tests, SAT scores, and subjective teacher evaluations.
8.) Politicians who don't understand education...and they seem to find a new way each year to make the job more difficult to be successful and effective.
9.) Safety Concerns.
10.) The "Blame the Teacher" mentality that is active in society.
11.) Problems with Administration (Leaving your boss)
I could go on with what I believe are possible reasons. I want to hear what teachers are thinking and feeling. This list can seem a bit discouraging, which is not my point at all. This list also shouts out the reality of how committed and passionate the teachers who stay must be...and that encourages me...but we shouldn't take their commitment and passion for granted. I've decided to add another list about why teachers stay...here it is...
Why Teachers Stay...against all odds... (My 2 cents)
1.) They love working with young people...they love the freshness, the freedom, the curiosity, the laughter, the spontaneity, the energy, the creativity, the spirit, the dreams, the potential, the growth, the affection...they love the life that teaching brings to them.
2.) They want to make a difference in the lives of others.
3.) They love their content area...and guiding others in their realm of greatness is where and when they feel fully alive.
4.) They love seeing the light bulb turn on inside a child when they finally get something...they are addicted to the "aha" moment.
5.) They realize the importance of education to society and they feel called to it no matter what difficulties they face.
6.) The bonds of friendship they have developed with their colleagues...much like the bonds developed on the battlefield. Teaching is home for them.
7.) They have a good boss who inspires, encourages, and protects them from all of the nonsense that swirls around in education.
8.) The opportunity to be on the same schedule as their own children as they go through school years. This has always been a blessing for teachers, but as of lately, teachers find themselves disagreeing with a lot of the methods that are being pushed in education, and they see the damage from two different angles, and it breaks their hearts.
9.) Holidays and Summers off...although many will contend they don't have those times off...they get laid off each year and have to find something else to do--summer school, paint houses, summer camps, mow laws, work at Disney...you name it, teachers have done it to survive over the summer months.
10.) They hold on because they have this hope that things will get better...that society and politicians will wise up to the importance of a well-educated citizenry and will begin to support their efforts to change lives through education. _ Those are just a few of my thoughts...please provide some of your own...One of our greatest challenges that we are facing in education currently is attracting, developing, respecting and retaining great teachers. I believe I can turn the tide and bring back great teachers to the benefit of all of our students.