- Teacher Self-Care: Great Tips PLUS A Hyperdoc To Share! - January 14, 2018
- 3 Steps to Helping Students Develop College-Ready Writing Skills - November 26, 2017
- A How To List For Flexible Classroom Seating - September 10, 2017
- Back To School Hacks: Digitize Your Syllabus and Lesson Plans! - August 20, 2017
- Want to Be Ready for Middle School? Start With These 4 Skills - August 14, 2017
- Making STEM Matter in Schools - July 17, 2017
- The STEM Revolution in Higher Education - June 26, 2017
- The State of STEM in U.S. Schools - May 30, 2017
- Teaching Writing With Hyperdocs - May 22, 2017
- Budget Cuts? Don't Take It Out On The Teachers - Or The Students - March 20, 2017
Wonder what teachers are really searching for online?
I can tell you - it's not just lesson plans or decoration ideas. It's not just how to deal with the unruly child, or how to motivate a reluctant reader.
Those searches would be understandable.
What teachers are really searching for online is this:
jobs for retired teachersjobs for ex-teachersjobs for teachers leaving teachingjobs for teachersjobs for former teachersjobs for teachers leaving the professioncareers teachers
good jobs for retired teachersnew careers for teachersjobs for teachers other than teachingjobs after teachingleaving teaching for a new careercareers after teaching
careers for teacherscareers for ex teacherscareers for retired teachersnon teaching jobs for teachersjobs for teachers who leave the professioncareers for former teachers
And the search keyword list goes on and on. Sad, isn't it? Scary, for sure.
What is happening to our teachers? And is anyone noticing?
As a 25-year teaching veteran, I can completely understand. In the 1990s, when I entered teaching, we were in a whole language curve. Middle school ELA teachers like myself were trusted to create curriculum and address the needs of the whole child. I was part of a five-person interdisciplinary teaching team that was responsible for teaching only reading - my partner took care of the writing instruction, and we carefully aligned with each other to ensure cohesive instruction for each of our 100 students. As a beginning teacher, I was making a decent salary, had 100% of my health benefits paid for, and was offered compensation for professional development.
Forward to 2016: I'm still teaching ELA in middle school, but have navigated through NCLB and am now entering uncharted territory of CCSS. I've been given the standards, but little training, and no materials whatsoever that match what my students are being tested on. I've spent money out of my own pocket to purchase lesson ideas from teachers in other states who are one step ahead. I've pursued grants, my own training, and read everything I can get my hands on. I'm teaching classes of 36, responsible for all ELA standards. I'm making a higher salary, but pay nearly 27% out of pocket for my share of my health benefits. I make less money this year than I did last year, and am looking at 12 more years of teaching before I can take full retirement. And I'm trying to pay for my own child's college tuition, all the while I'm educating other people's kids so they can enroll in college, too.
So I get it.
Teachers today are under more scrutiny than ever before. Their jobs are becoming more and more aligned with test scores and performance tasks. We are expected to do more with less, seek our own education, and somehow grade those papers AFTER our paid work day is done.
Teachers are tired. Veteran teachers are wondering how they can maintain. New teachers are quitting after a year or two.
I believe in public education, and I believe that I am impacting the lives of the students I see every day. I believe all children have the right to education, and I believe there are thousands of teachers who, like me, don't want to leave their job. But I also believe that teachers ARE searching for something else - something where they can find the balance between doing what the love, and having a life outside the classroom.
And please don't say we knew it wasn't about the money.
And please don't tell me we get summers off.
And please don't tell me we're making a difference, we have the hardest job in the world, and that you appreciate us.
We hear that. We hear you. And look what's happening - we're leaving.
Something has to change before it's too late. Aren't our children worth it?