Love teaching, but too many problems
I love teaching, I have taught for nearly a decade and I am good at my job. But I have been thinking about quitting. There are three things that are making me want to quit, but nothing will change because most Americans don't care about their children.
First is the familiar complaint of salary. A teacher's salary reflects how much Americans value education. I have heard people say that teaching is really just a part-time job, 8 to 3:30 Monday through Friday with Christmas and summer off, so teachers shouldn't be paid a full-time professional salary. There are no teachers that are able to do their job in a 40-hour week. I would venture to say every teacher works 9 to 10 hours nearly everyday and then takes work home over the weekend to get caught up for the next week. As to "all" the time off, teachers are expected to take graduate classes in the evenings and during breaks to keep their jobs. What other professional job expects so much but still pays a part-time salary?
Second, the demands being placed on teachers increase daily. We are no longer teachers but have become counselors, welfare workers, police officers, record-keepers and increasingly the only parental figures in a child's life. All these intangible demands are small in comparison to what local school districts, state education boards and the U.S. government are demanding from teachers.
As an example, middle-school math teachers will now have to individually test each of the 88 Arizona Math Performance Objectives. That works out to a test every two to three days. Imagine having to grade over 150 homework assignments each day and then every second to third day 150 tests, then record them. The paperwork is piling up fast. If you're on top of things like a good teacher should be, you will have over 750 homework assignments and tests to grade and record each week.
But let's not forget about the workload for the children... how many adults, let alone a 12-year-old child, would subject themselves to such a rigorous testing schedule? No wonder most children hate school and teachers feel burned out.
Last is the apathy parents have for their children. Parents say that care about their children, but their actions show they really do not care. Instead of citing studies about excessive television viewing, rising obesity, lack of adult interaction and so on, let's look at the grades of my students for second quarter. Of the 150 students I teach, 48 percent of them earned grades of D and F. The number of parents concerned enough to call about their children's grades was three. I really want to believe that parents are concerned about their own children, but if only three out of 150 parents call, what else is there to believe?
I still believe that teaching could be a great job, but if these three issues are not resolved, schools will continue to lose good teachers and fail to recruit new ones. Teachers are who create the future, but the way things look, the future is grim. But that's OK. I am looking forward to a bright future as an assistant manager for a fast food chain. Better pay, better hours and fewer failures.