Best and Brightest are (and will be) Leaving Our Profession

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by teacherman1, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Jan 6, 2012

    Does this sound familiar?

    Look around you. The signs are there already there. If you listen to teachers that have been in this profession for a while, their conversations seem to focus on when to get out – go now, while the pensions we worked for are still intact, or wait until they are eventually whittled away to nothing.

    Not a day seems to go by when I don’t hear about a colleague deciding to “get out while the getting is good.” I’ve seen this pressure building since NCLB went into effect. Teachers now spend more time doing paperwork (and I don’t mean correcting tests), preparing for evaluations and going to Professional Development than they do teaching kids. And when they finally get up in front of kids, it’s very often to prepare kids for tests or to actually administer them. What happened to teaching??”

    Moral is at an all time low. In Rhode Island, where my wife and I teach, we teachers have been accused of being incompetent, lazy and overpaid. Our Sick Days are being cut back, and we are no longer able to bank them for future serious illnesses. It’s a “use’em or lose’em situation. And of course, if we use those sick days we are just being lazy and we lack dedication.

    But, for me, the toughest thing to accept is that our administrations look down on us like we know nothing. Our opinions mean nothing.
    New programs are continuously being introduced and older ones being thrown out – before they’ve even given them a chance to work. We are told to throw out all the “tried and true” tricks of the trade that experienced teachers tend to accumulate and, instead, read from a manual. And then we’re told that we have to be doing this at exactly the same time and in the same way as all the other teachers in the district. Why not just install robots in the front of every classroom.

    I came into this profession late in life, after owning my own business and working in the private sector. Take it from me, it is the hardest job in the world to do right, and these newly added pressures and stresses will soon make it an impossible one.

    Teacherman:(

    PS Here's a great article I just came across on EDUTOPIA.org
    It's entitled Public Education Faces a Crisis in Teacher Retention.

    What I find interesting is that one of the suggested answers to
    low teacher retention is to have veteran teachers mentor the newbies.

    How does that work when all the oldies are gone?
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jan 6, 2012

    I'm sorry you have a situation that is that destructive, for lack of a better word. No school or ANY work situation should have an administration that is that reluctant to support its staff. My only hope to give you is that not all schools are that poisonous.
     
  4. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Jan 6, 2012

    Idiots and politicians are running the show and teachers are the pawns. I see it in all the nonsense that has showered down on our heads the last 5 years. We used to see the pendulum swing back and forth between the "reforms" but now that thing has broken off and sailed into space leaving fools with keys to the car.
     
  5. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Jan 6, 2012

    Hi Catnfiddle,
    As soon as I read your reply I looked to see what district you were teaching in.

    I want to work there!

    But I was not surprised to learn that you are a virtual English teacher. Doesn't that mean that you are not actually in a school environment?
    Let me know if your district is looking for a Virtual Elementary Teacher! I'LL PUT MY APPLICATION IN TODAY!!

    TEACHERMAN:)
     
  6. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    :D Every district has its problems. We have had some turnover due to various issues, mostly with class size, salary, and occasional dizzying expectations, but I cannot imagine a more supportive administration. My school environment is a virtual one 99.5% of the time, as I'm one of the rare teachers who will meet with students in person. As for my particular school, it's Ohio only and I couldn't imagine you leaving a state as lovely as yours.
     
  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jan 6, 2012

    Agreed. While I have tough days and get frustrated at times, I can be sure that my administration (and all that I have worked for) will work to provide any and all support that the staff and students need.
     
  8. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Jan 6, 2012

    Hi Mrs. C.
    It's interesting that you're from Canada. Maybe you are not going through the same _._. that we are down here in the states.

    Teacherman

    PS Are there any Elementary teaching jobs in Canada??:unsure:
     
  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This forum has been an eye-opener for me about the difficulties teachers face in some areas of the United States. It is not the case here (at least not in my experience). As far as jobs...there, we aren't so different. Finding a position in many places in very challenging, although we aren't facing the slashes in staffing that teachers in some states are.
     
  10. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    I wish that I could catch some teacher retiring in my state. It seems like here they are willing to do anything as long as they are employed and they are going to stay at their job until they are 80! My state however, is on the verge of departing from NCLB and the govenor is planning to mandate a raise for all teachers. The former govenor slashed education funding by 10% two years ago.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    A good hiring policy helps. I can't count on one hand the teachers who i know that have voluntarily left teaching.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 6, 2012

    I'm not sure all those leaving are "the best and the brightest." I think they're probably a normal cross section of the profession-- some wonderful, some whose leaving is a good thing.

    I know an awful lot of fabulous teachers-- some public schools, some private-- who aren't going anywhere.
     
  13. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Jan 6, 2012

    Did you watch the National News (NBC) tonight? A Rhode Island Middle School teacher told how her pension is being cut by $10,000.00 per year. And we in Rhode Island know that they are not done with the cuts.
     
  14. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jan 6, 2012

    You get a pension? Stay where you are.
     
  15. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jan 6, 2012

    I am lucky to have an administration that is extremely supportive. Not everyone has this. My administration supports me and listens to me. Many of my proposals have been accepted by the school. A supportive administration definitely can make a huge difference.
     
  16. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Jan 6, 2012

    I wish there would be a massive defection. Then maybe jobs would be available for those of us waiting for full-time employment in the field. Anyone coming in would just acclimate to the current atmosphere and not have a basis for comparison as to how it "used to be." New blood could be a good thing.

    However, with the dip on the stockmarket over the last few years, anyone who had a retirement fund now has a smaller one than they expected. Who can afford to retire?
     
  17. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Jan 7, 2012

    I do not agree with the "best and the brightest". That is more propaganda from the politicians and corporate greed mongers who would like to demolish public education to support their own desires.
     
  18. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Jan 7, 2012

    You do realize that even though we do have a pension plan, all teachers are forced to contribute close to 10% of our gross pay to fund that plan. Recently, we've discovered that the money they have been withholding from us has not been being invested into that plan. It's been used for "other things".

    Oh, and we still have to pay those union dues, too.

    That brings up a new topic so, I'm starting a new thread. If you'd like to comment on teacher pensions, please do it on this new thread.

    Thanks,
    Teacherman
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 7, 2012

    Of course, it's entirely possible that they like their jobs, they're good at what they do, and they see no reason to leave it.
     
  20. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Jan 7, 2012

    I'm planning on staying in my job past 80:) Not to keep anyone from teaching....but because I love my job, I'm really good at what I do, and there are many, many children that need good teachers and positive role models in their lives.
     
  21. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Jan 7, 2012

    I loved teaching, was great at what I did and I have the test scores to prove it. But there were still a lot of reasons to leave. The stress of dealing with a non-supportive administration, the fact that we now have no say in what we teach, how we teach and when we teach, and then, in the end, we are told it's our fault that the test scores went down instead of up.

    And I haven't even commented on the negative impact all this has had on the kids.

    Teacherman
     
  22. teacher333

    teacher333 Devotee

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    Jan 7, 2012

    I, too, love my job but will be staying past my retirement out of necessity.

    The one thing that bothers me most is when your Board of Education tells you how much they respect you as teachers/educators, and then say during contract negotiations, this year we are offering 0% and next year 0.5%...well, actions do speak louder than words!:huh:
     
  23. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Maybe I am playing devil's advocate here (or maybe I am looking through rose colored glasses), but, in how many other professions to you get to choose what you will do, how much you will get in raises or pensions, and other aspects or your job? How many other professions are there people standing in the wings complaining because someone older than them refuses to retire?
    In my district, we have enough homeless children to fill three schools. They have parents who would love to have more work, or a job, or a place to call home.
    Speaking for myself, I think I would rather concentrate on the positive aspects of my job, work to change those aspects that are within my control, and do my best to help the less fortunate in my community.
     
  24. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Jan 7, 2012

    Sometimes you create your own reality. I work in a public school district and we've gone through some difficult cuts. We have a history or union/admin harmony. I feel like my admin takes care of me even though I don't always like their decisions. I roll with it because I love my job. My co-worker hates everything. Every day. Every minute. In her reality, we work in the worst place with the worst kids, etc.
    I prefer my reality and I prefer to surround myself with people who see the glass half full.
     
  25. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't think I agree with the original post. I'm pretty amazing and I'm not going anywhere any time soon. :lol:
     
  26. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Exactly. Yes, there are many things we can complain about, but I do love my job, and I have tried to make better the things that I complain about. For example (some of you may remember) we don't have much technology at our school. This has been frustrating, but last year I wrote a proposal to our school (you guys helped me with that) to do a fundraiser to raise money for a computer in each primary classroom. The proposal was accepted, and now we have a computer in each classroom. I'd still like to see more computers in rooms, LCD projectors, smartboards, etc. (I'm currently trying to get another walk-a-thon planned), but it's a step to improving.
     
  27. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Yes, I agree with you.

    I think we all know people like your co-worker.

    My reality is much different. I greet the kids by name with a smile, I laugh heartily at times in my classroom, I throw out loads of positive comments throughout the day. I thrive on the positive energy that rebounds back to me from the students when I do this.
    I work in a tough inner city school that is surrounded by violence, but my classroom is a wonderful, caring place to be.

    I try to see things from the perspective of my students. Would I want to go into the classroom of the screaming teacher down the hall? Or would I rather go into the classroom of the teacher who smiles at me and is clearly happy to see me? No contest.

    This is going to sound corny, but when I drive to work, I start singing the Cheers theme song: Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came.

    I need to remind myself about that.
    Because I know that for a lot of my students, having someone who is delighted to see them is a rare or non-existent thing. So for each and every one of them, every day, I make sure they know that I am delighted to be with them. That is my most important mission as a teacher.

    I must disagree with the original post. The best and brightest are still here, not going anywhere, and we are doing a darn fine job.
     
  28. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Jan 7, 2012

    When I was growing up and wanted a new pair of shoes and my family didn't have the money, my mom would say, "You can't get blood from a stone." My mother loved me dearly. I was a great kid that worked hard in school, did chores around the house, never got in trouble. But when the money isn't there, it isn't there.

    If you were to say your district had a huge surplus of money and the BOE wouldn't give a raise I would agree that the actions speak louder than words. The case is, few, if any, districts have money so the fact that the next year there is a bit of a raise or that your salary wasn't reduced is a positive thing.
     
  29. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I love every single word of this post!
     
  30. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I work with many awesome professionals....some are newbies, some are seasoned...we're not going anywhere because we love what we do.
     
  31. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I agree.

    I think a LOT of the best and the brightest are very happily doing what they love.

    You don't often HEAR from them; they're too busy teaching.
     
  32. mctx1

    mctx1 Rookie

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    I was so inspired by your post! I'm 40 years old and about to start my clinical teaching next week. I won't be inner city, but its a low income area, and I hope that I can bring that wonderful positive energy!
     
  33. Rennie15

    Rennie15 Rookie

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    I also am from Canada, and any of the teachers I have worked with while pursuing my degree are not nearly as unhappy as a lot of the American teachers are. (And the people who are unahppy, sound like they have legitimate reasons in the U.S) It was also a HUGE reality check for me to read about the unfortunate issues and struggles a lot of the American teachers are facing. I live in Northern Alberta and we just had all of our funding put back in to education that was taken away, and the province is in the process of getting rid of our grade 12 provinicial exams. There are also quite a few jobs in this area.

    Good luck and I hope things get better for you!
     
  34. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    After teaching for 8 years, I went to work for a tech start-up. I now have amazing benefits, catered breakfasts and lunches every day, massages every Wednesday, company sponsored outings, 3 months paid maternity leave, all the supplies I need, commuting and gym stipends, etc.

    The problem? I don't have the passion for my job that I did when I taught kids. I've been promoted to head of training and development for the entire company, and I still can't work up the passion. It's just not the same. I do a great job, but it's hard to find the joy. So yes, I have financial security and a cushy work environment. But I miss the kids.

    The grass is always greener. Perhaps there is a place where you can have everything, but I haven't found it yet! ;)
     
  35. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I've had a passion for this career since starting 14 years ago. Even on my challenging days, there's nothing else I'd rather do. Despite the political rhetoric about education, budget cuts, and other constraints, my district has been able to preserve the integrity of our programs.. We continue to consistently perform at high standards. I work with dedicated professionals...the best and brightest eduction offers.
    I have good benefits, professional development, supportive parents and administrators and one of the higher paying salary guides in my county. I know not every teacher can say they enjoy these conditions, but there are many of the best and brightest who stay committed to education under very different situations than mine. That said, everyone has to do what is right for their needs.
     
  36. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I think this is why I don't ever see myself leaving teaching. There are so many benefits to working in the private sector- especially now with all of this negative political stuff going on- but I just don't have a passion for anything else the way that I do for teaching. I can't imagine going to work just to "put in my hours" so to speak.
     
  37. newtoclass

    newtoclass Rookie

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    I think that it is extremely important to have an administration that supports you. I also think that it is important to have colleagues that work together as a team. If you don't have that than the tough days become unbearable.
     
  38. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I, too, LOVE what I do. Thank goodness. I think Alice is right... when things are going well... you forget to celebrate. But when the going gets tough (as it ALWAYS does) .... Let the grumbling begin. My mantra is... Be the change that you want to see.
     

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