I recently came across an article on the Internet which I found to really hit home. The article was directed at teacher burnout and the turn over rate in the teaching profession. I found this interesting because I struggle each year when contracts are sent out as to whether or not I am going to sign my contract. Don’t get me wrong….I love teaching. I also love the children, their parents, and my co workers. It is the bureaucracy that drives me crazy. I have been teaching for almost twenty years and have witnessed many changes in education. We no longer teach our students about the world, we teach them to memorize items that are on a test. Creativity in teaching is a thing of the past. Teachers are held accountable for high stakes test scores. It seems that I am not alone. According to the article, “current and former teachers lamented their chronically low pay — that was expected — but they also brought up their lack of autonomy, as classroom instruction is increasingly dictated by bureaucratic mandates.” One of the teachers interviewed stated: “There are the days when you’re overwhelmed with paperwork, don’t have enough time for planning lessons, need time to collaborate with your peers, have parents that want meeting after meeting and still are never satisfied, and put in a load of overtime that the administration seems to expect but never recognizes with praise or compensation.” I am also often overwhelmed with paper work and with what seems like unrealistic expectations from the administration. Ioften feel so defeated. I watched 19 veteran teachers leave the profession, or change schools, on the last day of school this year. I makes me very sad. The article also stated:
Each teacher who leaves costs a district $11,000 to replace, not including indirect costs related to schools’ lost investment in professional development, curriculum, and school-specific knowledge. At least 15 percent of K-12 teachers either switch schools or leave the profession every year, so the cost to school districts nationwide is staggering — an estimated $5.8 billion.
These are staggering figures. We are in the midst of an economic crisis. Districts cannot afford to be losing teachers. Something must be done to change the policies and attitudes that are now in place. I am not sure what could be done to elemenate teacher burnout. I feel the answer lies in radical change.
What are your thoughts on teacher retention? What changes do the think need to be made to the current system to retain teachers? What problems do you see that cause the high rate of teacher turnover?
(Link to article: http://www.edutopia.org/schools-out#)