Monday, August 27, 2007

Teacher staffing an issue in the states also

Here is a story from the New York Times about the sorry state of teaching in the U.S. It focuses on the number of people leaving the profession, and the difficulty in staffing qualified teachers in math and science in particular, and even more so in low performing districts.
The retirement of thousands of baby boomer teachers coupled with the departure
of younger teachers frustrated by the stress of working in low-performing
schools is fueling a crisis in teacher turnover that is costing school districts
substantial amounts of money as they scramble to fill their ranks for the fall
term. Superintendents and recruiters across the nation say the challenge of
putting a qualified teacher in every classroom is heightened in subjects like
math and science and is a particular struggle in high-poverty schools, where the
turnover is highest. Thousands of classes in such schools have opened with
substitute teachers in recent years.

Teaching students interested in learning is a total joy -- the frustration of the discipline problems drives most people out of the business. Of my current crop about 3 in 4 are really there to learn within reason, and 1 in 4 are there to deprive the other 3 of that opportunity. I'm better than most at keeping that 1 in 4 on task, but it is exhausting and demoralizing to have to do so all the time.

Also, when I went into this field I was single, and I was being paid enough for me. I didn't look down the line so much. I don't have a big money complaint with things here now, but when I look at the salary guides for the states that aren't much better, and being aware how much more expensive things like housing and car insurance are there, plus all the other options that don't exist here that grab at your money, I wonder how I will be able to make it work. I could easily be one of those people who have to get out that are described in this piece.

I'd be curious to hear from my teacher readers if they expect to be in this profession 5, 10 or 15 plus years down the line.

1 comment:

Saipan Writer said...

These school issues aren't really new, either.

For example--Thespians of the Western Pacific Islands (TWPI), [that would be our local middle and high school students] are staing a play, UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE at the end of September. Main character is an idealistic teacher in her first class, facing students with attitude and teachers and administrators who use a variety of odd techniques to survive in the situation. It's a comedy, and as with all comedy, there's some heartbreaking truth in it.

It's easier in fiction, though, to have hope and resolution.

Here's a great teacher stand-up act. Taylor Mali: