The many misconceptions about teaching is that the career field is easy. I have written about the 9 Reasons Education is Confusing but right I want to tackle a topic that is close to home, “teacher burnout”. Inside the walls of a school, there are decisions being made that rattle the adults more than the kids and it makes completing your tasks each day extremely difficult. If you ever wondered why teachers throw in the towel to an easily assumed career, this blog discusses the 4 reasons teachers face “burn out”.
Each academic year is started off with a big meeting, “Convocation” in most places where teachers get a pep talk and inspirational thank you’s for their commitment to the school district and profession. Some teachers are engaged in the long, drawn out meeting, some steal away to the restroom midway through the keynote speaker’s address because the formality of convocation is boring, and new teachers take it all in as an exciting experience.
Convocation is the first of many meetings to come. At your school all of these committees and teams are formed, in conjunction with content area meetings, district level professional learning and training, staff meetings, grade level meetings and school-wide professional learning; teachers begin to ask when will they have time to work on content that they were hired to teach. Meetings and micromanagement does not work for teachers that want autonomy of their classroom.
Lack of Support
When problems begin to arise in the school, teachers think back to all of the meetings that have been held about procedures. There are protocols put in place that tells you how to handle situations. But when you see that disturbances are handled on a case by case basis and situational depending on the involved parties, there is a breakdown in how teachers feel supported. When teachers feel that they are not being supported based on what they have been told, more and more teachers walk away from the profession.
Paperwork/Documentation: Teachers and Students
The amount of paperwork that teachers are introduced to makes you wonder what exactly have you signed on to do. The universal screeners, individual education plans, behavior intervention plans, red tabs, discipline trackers, and parent contact logs must be in place to make sure students are receiving the right services required of teachers. But if teachers are negligent in their duties, they are tracked by means of code of ethics violations and personnel files that are kept at the school level, that then can be turned over to the local board of education for termination issues. It is a bit cumbersome to progress monitor behavior issues in a classroom where multiple behavior issues exist, and teachers are drowning in lesson plans and parental contact. One false statement or wrong signature can cause you your livelihood.
Staying in the same place for too long can be detrimental to one’s mindset and causes lack of motivation to stay in the profession. Change is good for anyone, and in this generation of students, the complexities that they face in life are far more different than what educators ever imagined. In at-risk, poverty stricken, low-socioeconomic status populations; homelessness, abuse, death, and previous retention of students consume work environments. Sometimes students have experienced so much, they come to school as a formality just waiting to turn 16 and dropout.
As an educator this is heartbreaking, and witnessing so much tragedy, and seeing the generations of students diminish in talent and respect, you find yourself wanting to do something new. Teachers may not be able to control the environment, but they leave it behind in pursuit of something better.
Ironically, a lot of teachers are taking their skills and transferring them to different fields such as writing books and other entrepreneurial endeavors. I myself am working on my third book on the ways to survive teaching your first year as a newbie. I love what I do, but I’m feeling the burn.