School Teachers Face Many Demands at Work
Teaching can be a stressful job. More than one third of teachers leave the field within the first five years according to EducationWorld.com. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports educators in high-need, poverty districts tend to leave first.
One major cause of teachers leaving the profession is that the job is demanding. With piles of papers to grade, lessons to plan, and parents to contact, a dedicated teacher's to do list is never complete. Teachers are also responsible for increasing amounts of paperwork. Special education documents and data driven record keeping can be time consuming tasks that are often completed outside of the typical school day. Strong organization and time management skills are required, and even the best of veteran teachers can feel overwhelmed at times.
Many young teachers also leave the profession because of lack of communication and support. Hopefully, you will be lucky and start your teaching career with a group of supportive fellow teachers and administrators. However, new teachers often feel isolated and unaware of what is expected from them. A study of North Carolina teachers who left the profession found that two-thirds of exiting teachers cited a lack of administrative support as a reason to change careers. Even though it is difficult, reaching out for help during the difficult starting phase can result in increased job satisfaction.
Teachers must be flexible to handle the inevitable obstacles that occur each day. Maybe you have a great technology lesson planned, but the computer just crashed and you need a backup plan - quick. Or you have a student experience a total breakdown right in the middle of your class lecture. Teachers must be able to handle problems and a room full of students all at one time. Problems also arise outside of the classroom setting. School bureaucracy can cause a teacher's concerns to not be addressed in an adequate or timely manner. Also, school politics and colleagues with different teaching styles can cause tension.
One of the worst stresses in a teacher's life is observing students who are struggling and face difficult home lives. Even as you try your best to reach out and help such students, the results are often less than desirable. For some teachers, this reality compared to their desire to magically change the world is too large of a discrepancy.
While you will most often be treated with respect in your educator role, there are times when students and their parents will demonstrate less than desirable behavior. In such situations you must remain calm and professional. When you are trying so hard to be an excellent teacher, disrespect can be discouraging.
Teachers may also be disheartened by school funding constraints. Inadequate school funding may lead to larger class sizes, inadequate facilities, and limited supplies and resources.
Teachers do receive a steady income with continual increases, yet many teachers do leave the profession due to low salaries. Only 66% of teachers feel they receive adequate pay according to MetLife. Compared to other professionals with a similar degree of education, teachers as of 2002 earned US$116 less a week according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). Also, teachers' salaries have failed to increase at the same rate as other college graduate professions. The EPI shares that when adjusted for inflation, the average teacher's salary increased 0.8% compared to other professions increasing 11.8% between the years of 1996 and 2003.