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?