Public Education Sucks

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Culturanta, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. Culturanta

    Culturanta Rookie

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    Nov 19, 2015

    I don't want to get too specific online....suffice it to say I am at the "breaking point" so many teachers reach right before leaving the classroom forever. My frustrations are garden variety, shared by everyone else who has ever set foot in a classroom.

    At this point I can safely say that while I know I am a good teacher, and have a very specific skill set that is valued/valuable, that I am in it mostly for summer and winter vacation. I do not get much joy from my job. I enjoy some of my students but have extreme negative feelings toward more of them than I care to admit.

    Administration is the major problem along with all of the other nonsense that goes along with public education.

    I don't want to flush my hard-earned graduate degree down the drain (Lord knows I can't do the same with the bills for said degree), but I don't think I want to be in a traditional K-12 classroom anymore. I considered becoming an admini-critter, however have since discarded that idea as I am already overwhelmed as a teacher and cannot imagine how much worse I would feel as an administrator.

    I would love to branch out into higher ed, but that sector is facing tremendous pressure and problems as well, and I would need to invest a considerable amount of time/$$ into a doctoral degree. Not sure about that one at the present time especially given the dearth of jobs in so many disciplines of academe.

    Where do we burnouts congregate when we hit this wall? And who has managed to hit the wall and stay in the game?

    I'm so disgusted at the moment, if I didn't have the common sense not to screw myself royally, I would resign this afternoon.
     
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  3. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Nov 19, 2015

    I wouldn't ever call myself a "burnout," but after my first three years teaching in a very impoverished inner-city school (private, but seriously poor), I very nearly left K-12 for higher education. I went back for my MA (in my subject, not teaching) and taught part-time online. I gave myself time and space to think seriously about what I wanted to do next. I decided to give teaching at a traditional public high school a chance, and had a horrible first year back, but I didn't give up, although I very much wanted to at times. I changed to another district -- my fourth -- and I am happy to say that I have finally found my right fit!

    So, you may feel differently, but for me, I just needed time and to find the right place for me. If you think the same might be true for you, I would try switching to a private school (a decent one, not one in danger of closing every day!), a charter, or even online/non-traditional teaching, before throwing in the towel altogether.
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nov 19, 2015

    I would also say that not every public school is the same. I love my public school. It has it's problems, sure, but from what I hear, the charter has even worse problems, sky-rocketing turn-over and teachers there are on the verge of mutiny.

    So I don't think it's a matter of public/charter or private. I'm pretty sure the main thing that matters is the admin in each and every case. A good admin can turn even an inner-city high violence community school into one that's amazing for students and teachers.
     
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  5. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Nov 19, 2015

    ...and bad admin can turn a really positive climate into one that's negative and stressed!
     
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  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nov 19, 2015

    Yup!
     
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  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Nov 19, 2015

    I think you just need to switch schools.
     
  8. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    Nov 19, 2015


    sounds like you are primarily in a bad situation. In almost any field of work, who you work for(i.e. your boss) is the most important criteria in job satisfaction. Before you completely discard everything, seek hard to find better situations. They do exist if you are flexible.My admin leaves me alone. The occasional times I ask them for help/support, I get it. I couldn't be happier.
    Most people who enter the field are enthralled with the idea of teaching. Go somewhere where you can teach and I think you will enjoy it. Best wishes.
     
  9. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    Nov 19, 2015

    Sounds like it isn't just public education. Most teachers get frustrated, but they also try to figure out how to correct the issues that cause that frustrations.
     
  10. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Nov 19, 2015

    I taught middle and high school in an area that was considered very rough and many of the students didn't come to learn but to create trouble everywhere. Most parents would rarely return the school's phone calls or attend parent conferences and when they would, they would say that the teachers are the ones who are the problem.

    When I transferred to another public school in a different area, it was the exact opposite there. Most students came to school to learn and their parents were highly supportive and appreciative.

    Culturanta, my experience is just one of many that shows that not all public schools are like the one that you are describing. I know for a fact that many of the teachers who left the school where I used to teach have had better experiences elsewhere. There are still some excellent public schools out there. It sounds like you have an exceptionally difficult group of students who would be uncooperative with any teacher.
     
  11. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Nov 19, 2015

    I logged in to chime in here.

    Teaching is a weird profession. It is one where (even if you enjoy your job, as I do), you can't wait for it to be over (for the day, the week, the year). AT THE SAME TIME, you hate to leave the class, even for a day (e.g. a sub), because you don't want to waste that teaching opportunity. I experience both, on a regular basis.

    However, what I will say, is that: Someday if I leave teaching, it will be for one reason--respect... or lack thereof. I can imagine it being so disconcerting, if an administrator tends to act against you, instead of for you. Or administrators, who pile on ridiculous expectations, as if you don't have other things to worry about... Or lastly, PARENTS who tend to blame you for things, take an adversarial position against you, when you are in it FOR their children! Only the last one has happened to me, but it makes me question why I have this job (so offended), wanting to tell that person and give them a piece of my mind.

    It makes it the thankless job teachers often say it is... it saps you, thinking about all you do and people not being appreciative... ultimately, I can see myself walking away, just for that reason. Rant over. ;)
     
  12. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Nov 19, 2015

    We've got a school less than a mile away from where my school is located. At the end of last school year, a herd of teachers transferred to other schools (within our same district, of course) due to problems with admin.

    In short, weak school culture can lead to a really negative teaching experience.
     
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  13. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Nov 19, 2015

    I've heard of this happening at a couple places, and in both the admin has stayed while teachers continue to leave. If you can say, was the admin situation dealt with? I feel like district leaders need to recognize that, when the majority of school staff leave the school at the end of the year, there's a chance that something's not going right at an administrative level.
     
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  14. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    OP, I'm sorry you have hit that point. I'm at a school where I have it better than many teachers at present (low class sizes, decent admin, enough supplies), and I still get fed up with today's current political and educational climate. There's so much that's going wrong right now, and it's all a blaming game in which teachers get the brunt of the blame most of the time.It's rough to love the idea of your job but consistently see so many areas where things could or should be better than what they are.
     
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  15. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    After several grievances, the district office finally "encouraged" the principal to take a VP position.
     
  16. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    This describes perfectly how I feel every single day.
     
  17. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    OP, I'm right there with you... have been for the past year. I switched schools... again... in an attempt to find the right place for me. Haven't found it yet, and I'm not sure I ever will. I don't want to leave teaching, but I'm so jaded when it comes to public education. I'm not sure that I can make it much longer. I just don't know what else to do that will pay my bills. I agree that admin is the number one factor in the climate of a school. I can't say from experience, unfortunately, but I imagine it would be easy to take for granted if you have good admin. Having bad admin can really suck the enthusiasm out of your teaching.
     
  18. Noah3

    Noah3 Guest

    Nov 20, 2015

    yes
     
  19. PatTm

    PatTm Rookie

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    I did leave teaching once after 3.5 years of subbing and loosing a part-time job at a tough inner city school that was just a mess. I did a year of Sales and hated that, went back to teaching at another urban school. My position their was hell, was ready to give-up, but thankfully I parlayed my experience into a good job at a competitive paying private school in a nice town.

    However I agree that respect is still an issue. Administration treats you like a child at times, Parents dish blame and take no ownership, and then society and even some friends are more than happy to tell you you're overpaid and your job is easy.

    I don't want to leave my current position anytime soon. I enjoy teaching but I know garbage men who make more money and deal with less disrespect. That's getting old quick
     
  20. Culturanta

    Culturanta Rookie

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    Thanks for the replies. Wednesday was a horrible day, things are not as bad now that a specific situation has been addressed. I agree that a change of scenery might be just what I need. I am going to start putting together my resume. I work in a very demoralized environment (many 20-30+ year veterans just hanging on until they can retire, even my dept chair openly states how much she hates our school and how much she is looking forward to leaving!) and it amazes me that I have been "infected" by this terrible attitude after arriving in this district in August very excited. Have spent my whole career in urban charters. This is my first public school district job, also in an inner city environment. In the charters, as a fifth year teacher I was the old veteran all the TFA teachers leaned on for support and advice. This is the first time I am one of the least experienced teachers in the building. Many of my colleagues are great but there is a shroud of negativity in our school culture driven by Ps and VPs who are incompetent and could care less. Love my students who want to learn but there are too many who do not and there is no support from admin or home in addressing the situations that arise. I also teach a very immature class of freshmen who are extremely frustrating to say the least.

    I know there is a stickied thread for online teachers. Going to check that out. I had heard K12.com was in some trouble with the government for lack of rigor and lack of student success. Anyone here worked for them?
     
  21. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    I worked for a K12.com school and could write a book about my experiences and thoughts but have to go teach a class right now...to be continued! Catnfiddle is a current online teacher who may want to weigh in as well, although I'm not sure if her school is in the K12 network or not.
     
  22. Culturanta

    Culturanta Rookie

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    I will look forward to your reply when you have time!
     
  23. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Public education doesnt suck....it's the only option for most students....and in any cases offers the best opportunity to provide needed support for them. Having taught in both realms, I can attest to both having unique challenges, frustrations and benefits...that said, I have more opportunities to grow as a professional, better pay and benefits and more resources to facilitate learning for my kids in public school...
     
  24. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Agreeing with people's input that switching to a new school might be perfect. I know among independent schools, it's not a surprise if teachers switch among schools. I've been at my current school for 6 years, love the majority of it, but am considering maybe switching schools just to try out something new. My current school is allowing me to take on new roles though ~ so I'm on the fence.
     
  25. Culturanta

    Culturanta Rookie

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    Nov 21, 2015

    Would also love to hear from anyone who transitioned from becoming a sped teacher (my current role) to a related service provider. I am considering becoming an academic psychologist who tests students for possible disabilities. In my area there seems to be demand for the job, and I have enjoyed the limited exposure I've had to the discipline thus far (classes in grad school for SpEd and interactions with RSP collegues)
     
  26. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I haven't gone from SPED to related service provider, but I went from SPED to gen ed, and... long-story short, it saved my career. I never would have made it thirty years as a SPED teacher.
     
  27. Culturanta

    Culturanta Rookie

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    Most of my students have emotional disabilities, which probably explains my stress, along with admin who don't understand students with disabilities don't all learn using the Danielson model.
     
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