Monday, April 30, 2007

Many Teachers Only Last 4 Years...

The measly salary earned by many teachers is referred to as "combat pay" and it isn't enough to compensate for the stress of being a parole officer and a baby sitter. Because of the looming possibility of law suits and the heavy load of bureaucracy, teachers find themselves unable to actually teach. They are getting frustrated and leaving the profession (many after just four years)...

"...Stephan Goyne entered teaching as a "fight the good fight" kind of guy, taking a job in East Oakland right out of college.

But after six years in the trenches -- transferred from campus to campus, forbidden from organizing field trips and ordered to teach math only after lunch -- Goyne left the profession. Now he works in real estate and runs a Brazilian jiujitsu studio in Oakland.

Sabrina Walasek loved teaching middle school science and math in Daly City and Felton, near Santa Cruz. But after six years, the Oakland resident found herself worn out from keeping kids in check .

"The amount of energy spent on discipline and behavior management just got to me after a while," Walasek said. The stress wasn't worth the pay, she said. "It was almost impossible to exist in the Bay Area on that salary," Walasek said.

She and her husband, also a teacher, both left teaching. Now she uses her education experience and business degree in developing educational toys at LeapFrog in Emeryville, a job that comes with a much higher pay check.

The 1,900 teachers surveyed by the institute said they left mainly because of the endless amounts of paperwork, constant interruptions and fruitless meetings that take time away from actual instruction, said Ken Futernick, principal author of the study and director of K-12 Studies at the institute.

"Those kind of things aren't just driving people crazy, they are driving teachers out of the classroom," Futernick said..." (source)

I don't know enough about NCLB to say whether it's a factor --I have heard that the paperwork is overwhelming. It's confusing because I've talked to teachers that love it and others that hate it. The NEA (teacher's union) is another huge problem. I think our political correctness plays a big part and the failure to offer teachers incentives that other professions receive may be the biggest IMO. I'd commit to stay somewhere for 3-5 years if they offered student loan payback (like the nursing profession does)...

If saying that teachers are one of the most important keystones of our society is more than just lip service, we have to start attracting top candidates and not the bottom of the barrel.

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