A Day in the Life of the Modern Teacher: Why are so many teachers leaving the profession?
The other day at work, a teacher made a valid comment. He said, “We are teaching them to make claims and cite evidence, but how can we do this if they do not even know how to be human?”
Right now, even money is not keeping teachers in the profession. When teachers leave, it actually does not as much to do with the money as one would think. The following article points out the numerous issues that teachers face in modern education:
Still, it goes deeper than that, and that is why I am putting this on a conspiracy forum – not necessarily a teaching one. Most teachers know that teaching sucks and most I know have a back-up plan to get out of the profession. But why?
Teaching used to be an honorable profession, but it has become de-professionalized over the years:
But again, most know that teaching is not what it used to be, so what really is the conspiracy here? I want to go deeper than “here are the issues for teachers today.” I want to go into the reasons why I think “WHY” there are issues for teachers today. I want you to walk with me through my world as a teacher, and I want you to see that, as always, I think there is something much more sinister happening. None of this is “random.” This is how and why the education system is broken, and here is what teachers really have to deal with.
Teachers are Parents Now
At Wal-Mart a few months ago, I ran into a nice lady I used to tutor. She had her son with her, who was about 16. I went up to him, and I tried to shake his hand, and he literally did not know what to do. He had never been taught how to properly shake hands with strangers. As his mom, I would have been appalled and at least have said something, but she looked at me strangely, too. I thought, “What is going on with society?”
I mentor many new teachers, and the biggest issue I see is classroom management. Now, most new teachers deal with classroom management issues, but there is something different now. The kids are coming to classrooms literally out of control. Why? The kids that do not know how to behave at home do not know how to behave in the classroom.
I have mentored many new teachers, and most leave within a few years because the kids are so disrespectful and no matter what they do, they just cannot seem to manage them (By the way, if you are a new teacher reading this, I am literally writing a book on classroom management and can help you.)
I want to explain that I am not just talking about the typical things you might have experienced as a child. There was always “the naughty kid” and there were always kids who messed around behind the teacher’s back. But this is different. One teacher I worked with (she was with Teach for America) left after her first year. She told me she still has nightmares (many years later) of the classes she taught and how they tortured her. She was a nice woman, but you really cannot be that way as a teacher anymore.
Kids do not have a lot to fear anymore. Let me explain:
Parenting is hard work, and many parents simply do not like it:
There is also this new movement where parents try to “befriend” their children:
Look, I am not saying parents need to start beating their kids, as somebody always twists my words. There are different types of parenting, and the authoritative style (too strict) forces kids to rebel eventually, and the permissive style (which many parents are choosing today), is not working for kids either as they are missing out on rules and boundaries. The authoritative style of parenting is probably best:
From the article, “Frequently hailed as the best way to raise kids, it’s an approach that emphasizes sensitivity, reasoning, setting limits, and being emotionally responsive.”
Based on what I have seen, I would say most parents today are following the more “permissive” end of parenting, where essentially, kids are allowed to do whatever the want at home, so why can’t they at school?
Teachers struggle, then, with power battles with students, and they often do not get the parent support they need. I reference this comic a lot, but it literally reflects the true nature of teaching today:
I remember a few years ago, a parent told me that her child simply did not want to read at home. I simply said, “Well, can you make him read and give him some sort of consequence if he does not – like taking away his phone?” Her eyes lit up, as if she had never thought of a scenario where she could actually make her child do something.
So, in the classroom, many teachers are operating as parents, trying to push boundaries and rules, and many students, today, simply cannot handle it.
Teachers vs. Parents
The other thing is that teachers and parents have been made to be enemies over the years. I have found, today, that most parents simply believe everything their children tell them, sometimes even over what their teachers say. This makes me laugh because I find so many parents have this idea that their children are little angels, and I want to tell you, right now, that they are not. Students simply act different at school than they do at home, and you probably would not want to know the things they really say or how they really act.
Going back to discipline, you might ask why it is so difficult for schools to handle discipline and kids today. The problem, often, is parents. Schools are afraid of getting sued at any given moment. Parents have literally sued school over the poor grades of their children:
The other issue is that there are now plans that can allow students to seriously do whatever they want in classrooms without consequences do to the nature of something in special education. These legal documents must be followed, which may mean Johnny can disrupt the class 15,000 times and there is nothing the teacher can really do.
While I am all for inclusive environments, there has been the elimination of schools and programs that deal with difficult or low-functioning students. Because of the nature of “equality” these kids who have severe issues are forced into classrooms where they simply cannot function, and this is to the detriment of everyone in the class, especially the other students.
Now, I want to be clear here. I am not saying that students with issues cannot be placed in regular education classes – there are some great scenarios of students being properly accommodated and served to meet their needs. I have seen this many times, and I am all for inclusive environments. BUT, there is a point where an inclusive environment does not work for all students, and that is where many teachers are experiencing frustration.
Going back to parents, though, is that many of these dysfunctional students come from environments where there is no functioning at home. This is an excellent article about why many teachers are leaving the classroom, and for many, it is about discipline, fear of lawsuits, and lack of support:
“According to a new report by the nonpartisan, nonprofit opinion research organization Public Agenda, teachers too often must operate in a culture of challenge and second guessing that is affecting their ability to teach and maintain order.
• Nearly 8 in 10 teachers (78%) said students are quick to remind them that they have rights or that their parents can sue.
• Nearly half of teachers surveyed (49%) reported they have been accused of unfairly disciplining a student.
• More than half of teachers (55%) said that districts backing down from assertive parents causes discipline problems in the nation’s schools.”
When there is an issue with students, administration almost always sides with parents simply out of fear – not because the parents are always right.
If parents cannot even get support from parents, then why would they stay? I am lucky that over the years, I have found effective methods of creating awesome relationships with parents I teach, but it is not easy. I have had to show how parents can trust me, and really, there has been a climate created, especially in the media, where teachers are shown to be untrustworthy. Teachers are demonized, now, more than ever:
This demonization is the “divide and conquer” tactic we find so often in our society, but why? Why do ‘they’ want this divide between teachers and parents? Let’s move on to the next issue before I answer that question.
The McDonaldization of Education
Over the past few years, many schools have taken on “business models”:
The problem? Schools are not businesses. From the article, “Businesses don’t understand the culture of schools. But they need to before they start telling schools what to do.”
I am NOT against standards for teachers or high standards for our education system in general. The problem is, though, that this is not about “standards” or the well-being of our students. This is about profit.
There is a literal testing industry that runs our schools:
On top of that, though, when we truly operate schools like a business, then we lose good teachers, and then we “lose” our students. More than anything, an effective teacher can make the world of difference in a student’s life, even one in poverty or with the odds against them:
However, when teaching becomes a business, it is simply more difficult to keep good teachers, but here is the point…’They’ do not care. At McDonalds, when the lazy kid quits, nobody cares, because there will always be somebody to replace that lazy kid. It is kind of true of teaching today. There is always going to be somebody to replace that teacher (a warm body) – the difference is, they will likely not be an effective replacement. It is not hard to be effective at McDonald’s, but it is hard to be an effective teacher, and that is why this does not work. They just want a warm body in the classroom, but are students really learning?
The business models are failing schools:
As a teacher who works in a school with a lot of full-time subs, I seem this firsthand.
It goes beyond profit, though, and we are getting to the deeper ‘why’ of it all. Why are they breaking down education? Have you seen “Waiting for Superman”?
I could not bare to watch the movie, but here is the article on the faulty, simplistic view of the ‘documentary’:
From the article, “But many observers criticize the film’s focus on charter schools – public schools that are granted autonomy from many district policies.”
There we go – that is the motive, and we will talk about that in a moment. But before we do, teachers are not our saviors, and we cannot forget the huge problem of poverty in our country.
Teachers are NOT our saviors
I remember I was watching Oprah or some similar shit, and a teacher was being praised for feeding her students every morning. People loved this! The headline read something like, “Amazing teacher feeds hungry students” NOT “Teacher is forced to feed hungry students so they can learn.”
Teachers should NOT have to get to the point where they are trying to solve society’s problems in their classrooms, but that is what they are doing. We are parenting children, and we are viewed with a sort of “savior complex” and maybe even as heroes when we are not being demonized by the media.
Schools are continually defunded, and poor schools are defunded when they do not perform (and they rarely do). It is a vicious cycle of abuse:
Of course, teachers spend a huge chunk of their income on their students. You may say, “Just stop doing it,” but then I will say, “They won’t learn then.”
I would rather spend the money then sit in a classroom without tools. It really sucks, and I tell my students that – not to guilt them. I just explain the truth. The other day, a student asked, “Did you buy all these vocabulary books for us? Why?”
“Because I want you to learn.”
Hey, maybe it sounds corny, but it is true. I cannot wait around 2 years for the district to approve the vocabulary books. I just bought a class set on Amazon for $300, and it has been great. Remember, though, we cannot illegally copy any of those pages 😉
Anyway, the point is, teachers leave because they are faced with moral dilemmas. Should they spend the tiny extra income on the thing they need to do for their house or whatever, or should they spend it on their students? A lot of them (including me) choose their students.
But why do we live in a society where teachers are even facing these moral dilemmas? What type of profession is this? In an ideal world, a teacher will have the resources they need for all of their students. Instead, in our dystopic world, teachers are spending hundreds to supply their own classrooms:
From the article, “For teachers in lower-income districts, the burden can be even higher. Within the past year, Communities in Schools conducted a survey of 700 teachers and found that more than 90% have to buy school supplies to help low-income kids whose parents can’t afford even basic things like pens and notebooks.”
Which leads to my next point.
When I was 16, my dad moved our family from white suburbia to a world of extreme poverty. My life changed forever. More than anything, I am shocked by how poverty is dismissed when we reflect on society. People are quick to jump to race, to politics, to the president, to whatever, but nobody looks at poverty.
Great teachers cannot make up for deep issues in our society like poverty. Poverty has the greatest impact on our educational system, and the system itself perpetuates it:
From the article, “51 percent of our children across the country now live in poverty, and the numbers appear to be growing.”
51 percent. Half of our kids are living in poverty. With poverty comes so many more issues: neglect, abuse, lack of nutrition, etc. I want to give you some real life examples of how poverty really impacts education:
• A student casually walked up to me. She said, “Sorry I missed class last week. I was raped by my mom’s boyfriend.” Not kidding – a true story. Poverty increases chances of sexual exploitation:
• Many students both intentionally and accidentally call me ‘mom.’ I am maybe the closest some have to being a mom. Children are growing up with a lack of good role models:
I remember calling my 2nd grade teacher ‘mom’ because I never really had one.
• School lunches are disgusting – I have eaten them. Most are facing lack of adequate nutrition, even when obesity is on the rise. Hot Cheetos do not make for a fulfilling or nutritious meal. Poverty and poor nutrition are directly related:
• More students than ever are suicidal and depressed. I cannot even begin to tell you the amount of students I have dealt with these issues. Poverty is absolutely linked to depression:
Ultimately, poverty has the biggest impact on academic performance:
Yet in the media, we are not hearing about poverty. We are hearing about teachers, curriculum, and testing. We are hearing that students are not performing, but we are NEVER hearing about poverty. We are hearing about how teachers are failing our students.
In reality, a good teacher may save a student, but a good teacher cannot save every student, especially those in poverty. There is only so much we can do. Even the best teachers cannot save everyone.
Still, they are telling teachers that work in areas of severe poverty that they better raise those test scores!
So, then, why are ‘they’ doing this? Honestly, the education system could be fixed in a day – I am not kidding you. I really believe this, but the corruption is extreme. So, what could be some of the reasons behind purposely failing children?
• They want to privatize education: Why is this bad? This is a great article on this:
From my personal experience, I live in a state where private charter schools were supposed to “save” education here. It has not worked at all, and the charter schools are usually just as dysfunctional as public schools, though sometimes they rise to the occasion.
In my opinion, though, education should always be public and controlled by the people. It should never be under private influences – ever.
Why? True education is freedom.
• Dumbing people down: Anybody on a conspiracy forum will know this is not really a conspiracy. Schools keep the low students low and the high students high. This creates further class division, even in wealthier areas. Schools perpetuate poverty and this class system:
• Breakdown of family and control by an outside force – A Brave New World: If you have read Brave New World (or other similar dystopian novels), parents do not really raise the children. The system does. If the system raises the children, they have more control. From Brave New World:
“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.”
I write a lot about how creativity is purposely targeted, and most student lose their ability to “create” by 8th grade because they have just become so mind-controlled. The assignments I assign with more creativity or always the most difficult for students. There is literally a “creativity crisis”:
(Maybe this all draws us away further away from the Creator…”)
I wrote this post with ease because it is all true to me (and I know it is super long), and I did not even get into everything I wanted to. One thing I wanted to talk about is the huge lack of empathy in children today. This is intentional.
I recently saw a comic on /r/forwardsfromgrandma:
They made it seem so ridiculous that people may point to outside forces for things like school shootings. As a teacher, these outside forces are the problem.
Education is a system, and it reflects our current society. So many point to teachers for the problems in society without taking ANY accountability for what is going on outside of school, and further, the sinister forces that are controlling schools.
I was going to say I predict a future where everybody is brainwashed and mind-controlled by a faulty and detrimental educational system, but we are already there.
Hope? Every day I teach with my heart and soul. I did not include this until now, but I have received many awards and honors as a teacher because I rise above the system. It is not easy, and I do not make many friends.
“Education is the movement from darkness to light.” – Allen Bloom
True education is anyway.