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Why Do Teachers Quit?

| 96 Comments

Job satisfaction remains a major challenge for the teaching profession. According to recent research by the National Center for Education Statistics, 8 percent of public school teachers—and fully 20 percent of those with no prior full-time teaching experience—left the classroom in the 2004-05 school year. The NCES's study suggests that lack of professional autonomy may be partly to blame. Others point, relatedly, to growing pressures on teachers as a result of standards-and-accountability initiatives, and a feeling that the profession is not personally rewarding.

What's your view? Why do so many teachers choose to leave the profession? What changes could schools make to improve teachers' job satisfaction? What do you like and dislike about your teaching career?

96 Comments

Hello!

In all nations teacher has respectable place in society, but in teacher profession has not rewarding job like other buns, incentives, transport, comfortable offices, bad condition of class rooms, low salary package and etc, therefore they leave their profession and chose other field in which they can earned good pay.
we can improve their mental level through workshops, If they prove improve their students mental level, they give the students parents good anvil report. Then we should give them an annual incentive. we can provides them home tuition and so that they earned more money.

Thanks,

Sheikh Abdul Majid


Teachers are leaving the educational profession for the following reasons: 1) Lack of Respect from both the parents and students. 2) Lack of Income for the time and amount of education and continuing education it takes to stay certified. 3) Too much testing and too much time on high stakes testing...very stressful to all involved.

Teachers leave for a variety of reasons, all of which have been said previously by someone else. We are not respected by our students or their parents; when a child is lazy and doesn't do her/his work, its our fault. The pay is abysmal for the amount of schooling and hours put in. The physical environment is atrocious. Certain subject areas are privileged over others. I teach Latin, and routinely have students pulled from my class for chemistry, algebra, English tutoring. This sends the message that because of high stakes testing my class is just filler. This comes, of course, at a time when the 9/11 Commission reported that a lack of trained language professionals was a contributing factor and America is desperately behind almost all other indusctrial nations with respect to the number of bilingual residents.Yet, I work no less hard than any other teacher. Furthermore, we are treated like slightly slow children who cannot exercise professional judgement to save our lives. Therefore, we must have every move we make scrutinized and frequently just told to us. In my school district the Human Resources oeople are actually incompetent. Despite being a dedicated teacher and one who has worked to achieve nearly two Masters degrees, one in education, my ability to be permanently licensed was seriously hindered by my human resources office. All of these reasons make me want to leave teaching, and it is a decision that I struggle with every day.

Politics is too embedded into our education system in the state where I live, and this often forces teachers to change schools and/or occupations. If teachers have an opinion which they dare to express, they may find themselves blacklisted by school superintendents and thus unable to find another teaching position. There is a great deal of inequality and injustice in our education systems, and this alone is enough to cause teachers who went into education because they care to want to change professions. We are pressured by administrators; it seems the only thing that is noticed it what needs to be improved rather than what is already right with what we do with our students.

This article tells only part of the story and reflects the inherent bias of the author. Professional autonomy is a great thing and I wish I had more in my classroom BUT the mandates of NCLB and other state standards-based reform movements have placed a massive emphasis on testing. If we follow the gravitational theory of management (stuff runs down hill) then it will flow from the Dept of Ed, to the State Depts of Ed, to the LEA's, to the supervisors, to the principals, to the teachers. Every level of that process are chained to the outcome of test scores and as such are going to implement policies and procedures to ensure that those scores are high. Sure it takes away from my ability to teach the history that I see as most important and I frankly despise part of that. However we have to look at it from a holistic view and understand why things are the way that they are and ty to figure out what the solutions can be. It is both fortunate and unfortunate that we see teaching as an autonomous free-thinking birthright of graduating from college and successfully student teaching. Like any job there are requirements and procedures that must be followed, even when we do not agree with them.

Isolation is one of our biggest contributors to teacher exodus from the profession. Isolation from the respect given other professions with equal education, isolation from decision-making processes governing our professional lives and groth, isolation from developing partnerships with any number of individuals, teachers to community members to students themselves. The prevalent feeling is one of being left alone to do a monumental task with little help from any area of society. We need to give people reasons to stay in teaching, we need to talk to each other (not complain), we need to encourage professional partnerships. I stay in this profession because I actively seek to do these things; many young people do not know this active seeking will help and is not time away from the day-to-day grind but is time toward growing in that day-to-day grind. Networking within and outside our classrooms will help us gain respect from each other, the students, and the community. But, to say it is the fault of this group or that is to not do what we can or try to do what we can to improve our situation.

We have been talking about why teachers leave, but so far the general public does not understand the conditions under which we have been teaching. 1. We are supposed to cure all the ills of the society in the classroom. 2. We are supposed to make all our students able to attend a college of choice. 3. We are supposed to ensure that all students receive at lease a passing grade; this seems to conflict with #2 regardless of how the student wants to cooperate or not. 3. We are the main reason for students' failure. 4. Lesson plans (a necessity)are to tie in the state objectives, use each source and follow a time schedule. We muct reteach a concept if neccesary. 4. Much of our material is scripted, that is, the teacher reads the script and folows a time schedule. This leaves no time to draw upon schema and tie into the students' experience, nor does it allow time to reteach or set up the background. I'm not sure what is taught at the university level, but administrators are increasingly of the "fear" mindset in that if you frighten a teacher or bully one, there will be student performance. Teaching is supposed to be a wonderful experience between the classroom (students) and the teacher in which there is growth, learning and success. When the measure becomes getting the most for the "buck" the above experience becomes more common., and students suffer, teachers suffer, and people leave. I personally can teach in a barn if need be, but I am not a psychiatrist, a medical doctor or social worker. Education is expected to do more with less, and the strain is impossible for any one human to sustain. There are simply not enough hours in the day or emotional space to do it all.

We now understand that the 'sink or swim' approach where new teachers are cast into a classroom and left on their own does not work. More and more states and districts are recognizing that a high-quality effort to support new educators is needed. Organizations like mine - The New Teacher Center at UCSC - support policymakers and practitioners to design and implement high-quality teacher induction programs and to identify and train successful mentors. These efforts not only sharply curtail new teacher attrition, but also make these new teachers more effective practitioners. Plus, this approach saves schools, districts and states money. We should support our newest educators because it's the right thing for them as individuals, but also because it's better for the school communities in which they work, for their students, and for all of us who fund public education.

Forget politics and government doing this or doing that. The teachers who quit are the ones who are out to save the world and assume that all children are sugar and spice. Once they get into the class room and john doe jr. or sally sue constatly talks back and disrupts the class, things change. Depending on where you are children will come from assorted backgrounds and families that have a variety of beliefs. One who does not understand this will surely fail. Lets not blame politics for a lack of understanding and personal bias that gets in the way of teaching. Assmuptions and personal bias have to be thrown out. If not, children will suffer as a result. Many teachers are not prepared for something like this unless they attend the "school of hard knocks" where they will have been exposed to this and will know what to do. What we really need to talk about is why do good teachers leave the schools where they are most needed?

Teachers leave the profession for a variety of reasons, most of which involve political gamesmanship between parties that have little to do with what happens in the classroom, or the school in general, but have a great impact on how teachers are allowed to do the job.

The political battles waged by these groups--which include the teacher unions, principals, superintendents, school boards, parents, educational regulators and, the worst of all, the politicians at the state and federal level--involve the following issues, dynamics and concerns:

- Emphasis of testing over real education and making a genuine connection with students that can change lives and the course of history;

- Emphasis on regulation rather than education, which focuses on rules (which are necessary) and rule enforcement rather than the teaching-learning process;

- Class sizes that overload a teacher, the administrators and the students with stress, the inability to manage classroom environments, and remain a non-issue for administrators, superintendents, school boards and teacher unions because money and politics have a higher priority in their minds;

- Professional development that remains ordinary, routine, benign, obligatory, demeaning, useless and disengaging, rather than dynamic, useful, engaging and meaningful;

- Hiring processes that are exclusive to "new blood" and have a political presence in the form of patronization and political sponsorship, if not nepotism, xenophobia and outright patronage to political cronies;

- A failure of the teacher preparation industry (and it has become an industry) to instill a values approach that includes a sense of professionalism and commitment;

- The assumption, on the part of unions and administrators, that salaries are the be-all and end-all of negotiating teacher contracts and settling labor disputes;

- The never-ending failure to listen to the concerns of the faculty about the social issues, family problems, health concerns that are presented to them in the classroom and the failure of the school systems and the lack of a community presence or network to refer these concerns and issues;

- The insulting manner in which teacher evaluations are often conducted, the lack of useful feedback from evaluators, and the lack of recognition for what is working in favor of emphasizing the negatives;

- The failure to develop, acknowledge or support peer evaluation efforts, or to allow this approach to supervision ab intio;

- The failure to develop collegiality, peer improvement, recognition of professional ability and the demand for participation above and beyond teaching duties without consideration of strengths and interests;

- The sense and perception of a considerable lack of trust within the profession and in many (if not most) schools because of the fear-mongering that is facilitated by overly cautious and usually ineffective administrators that emphasize avoiding conflicts and law suits over promoting a sense of community, professionalism, trust and collegiality;

- The failure to recognize, acknowledge or utilize in-house expertise by always seeking in-service and professional development opportunities from external resources, holding these events some distance away, or not fully facilitating the in-house expertise;

- The considerable disregard of the professional status and standing of teachers as individuals and as a cadre in a school setting that is demonstrated by a lack of resources for teacher organization (i.e. office space, storage resources, a place to secure belongings) and the overall attitude and demeanor of so many supervisors and administrators toward teachers, especially those that dare to push for improvements in any and all aspects of education;

- The failure to facilitate emotional, spiritual, professional and economic safety in the school community, including threats to salary, standing, esteem, as well as physical safety (threats and assaults on teachers are common and are sometimes escalated to batteries)....

The list could continue, but I believe this will suffice in illustrating the point.

I am going to school to become a teacher but I think I know the real problem. If the government, whether state or federal, mandates what, how, when and whom I can teach, anyone who can read and follow directions could teach. But, I feel there are several points missing. First, lets get back to basics. Reading, Writing and Arithmatic. Not this new math that some teachers don't understand let alone the students. My daughters 5th grade math teacher just hands out the homework, which is usually not what was covered in class. My daughter comes home and asks for help. I'm 50, I have no idea what or why she is learning what she is learning. Secondly, everything is pre-prepared. Nice if your a teacher with no time, but if you like to be creative, forget it. It's all by the book. Third, teachers don't really teach. Computers and ipods have taken over our school. Since kids don't like to read, we are giving them books on ipods so they can listen. How is that going to help my son read? We used to read out loud in class. If we couldn't, then the teacher spent extra time with us. Now, the kids have silent reading while the teacher takes a break. They wonder why kids are labeled ADD. Who could sit silently for 45 minutes at the age of 8 or 9. Too bad we've lost that fire to teach and watch kids learn and grow. Also, you say parents are involved. Well, that may be true for some but I know alot of parents who just don't understand what is happening with our school system. Like I said before, what happened to learning math, spelling, english, history, government, geography. It's all lump together called social science. How can the parents get involved if WE don't get it. Since the system put such a wacky program together, then let the system teach. The parents can't help anymore.

I agree with so many others about teachers leaving because of increased accountability, increased problems of management in the classroom, however, so many variables account for what goes on in the classroom. Through my 40 years in education, I observe that teachers leave because of the supervisors or administrators do not have time to do appropriate support assessments in their respective classrooms to assist with the issues present. Many administrators lack the experience and knowledge to provide appropriate advice and use the excuse they do not have the time.

With appropriate feedback and observations (more than 3 minutes), administrators can provide support and assistance and help the teachers feel respected for the work they do.

Not much information in this article. If there was a study done, what were the results? If teachers are leaving, than surely there would have been a list of reasons for the exit. I was disappointed in this article. I was hoping to share it with our Superintendent who has very little respect for the professional men and women who work in his district. I have always wondered what prompts dedicated individuals to leave this profession, and I wish this article had actually addressed that question. Maybe you should offer a follow-up article that gives some good information. By the way, the teachers I know who have left the profession have left because: 1) in our state you are required to earn a Master's Degree to teach any grade level (yes, even kindergarten). 2) We are not paid very well at all, and the more rural you get, the worse the pay. 3) NO RESPECT! We can deal with the parents and students, but to be constantly belittled by school board members and superintendents is not acceptable. A school board that throws a fit about giving a 2% raise to its teachers is jusk asking for those teachers who are on the verge of leaving to head for the exit.

PAY!!! For the amount of WORK, WORK, WORK and the educational level required of teachers, the salary is DISMAL!!! I have two masters, why didn't I do something else!!! A special ed. student who didn't graduate from hish school and is now working as a ditch-rider in Wyoming, makes more money than I do! The lady who cuts my hair makes a lot more money than I do!

I have only been teaching for 6 years. I have had awful experiences every year. I am in the process of a debate within myself whether or not to quit. The three main reasons are: 1) lack of or no administrative support, 2) no parent accountability, 3) lack of respect and discipline from students (violence. We are underpaid, underappreciated, and disrespected as professionals. When people ask what I do for a living and I respond that I am a teacher, they show signs of pity. I will either start a child development center or quit all together.

"The problem, experts say, is that teaching has gotten harder." - from the article

The problem is, teachers say, experts aren't teachers.

Why, oh why, does education follow failed policies of an obsolete industrial model and think experts know more about the job being done than the people doing the job?

I left because experts were about to tell me, once again, how to do my job better and where I could do it. In light of my students' obviously substandard performance on state tests (93% on or above grade level) and my embarrassingly shoddy credentials (BA and MA in my subject area, NBCT, 16 years in the field)I obviously could not be trusted to be invited into the decision making process.

Oh - and when I left? My pay rate jumped 14+ years by the pay scale - I was suddenly worth more than a teacher with over 30 years of experience . . . go figure!

There was a major study about this question. The reasons are different than those you mention before you ask the question. I think you bias the responders by telling them why and then asking them why. Top reasons on the study: Lack of support by administration, not knowing how to handle classroom discipline and management problems, not knowing how to motivate students, and lack of support by other teachers were the top reasons. Pay was number 10.

Don't blame everything on tests, accountability, and administrators. I am one of those teachers who quit classroom teaching after two years of full time teaching. I was in my forties when I finished my masters degree and student teaching and eagerly began my career in education. I left the profession totally disillusioned. The reasons were: 1. Classroom management and discipline issues with some students 2. Lack of parental support, 3. Problems motivating some students. In general, the area where I taught had a cultural attitude that education was not important, homework a waste of time, respect was a one way street from teacher to student and not returned to the teacher and most important, Students and parents had no responsibility for their role in education. Students and parents had an attitude that they were entitled to everything for free. I personally supplied school materials since they came without paper, pens,or books. I grew exhausted and depressed that I could get so few excited about learning. An administrator said to me that they were not "a homework kind of school" and "what can you you do with the unmotivated?"

Fortunately, I found a wonderful postition during the middle of my second year of teaching that I could begin when school ended. I now work for a university extension as a youth development educator. I once again feel enthusiasm for my job and make a difference in the lives of children. The biggest difference is that I am appreciated, treated very professionally and work with people who want their lives to improve. No, I do not make more money or have summers off, but I love my job!

As a teacher of 30+ years of experiance I obviously did not leave teaching. Yet, in the current situation I am not sure that I would stay as long. I have been very fortunate in my career, working with motivated good students, been supported by technology, allowed autonomy in my classes and curriculum, and paid relatively well for a rural area.
In the last decade of my career I have seen a constant erosion of professionalism in my field. My degree/certificate has been degraded by the proliferation of provisional certificates which by law must be on the same pay scale as certified teachers. In this state, provision certificates in CTE need not have a 4 year degree, in fact in some cases no degree is held.
I have firmly believed that career and technical education (CTE) is a wonderful avenue for many students, not only to jobs and motivation but as a way to provide meaning and validity to many of the core subjects, math, history, communications, and science. Believing that the 3 Rs are critical to education regardless of the path they are delivered with makes it hard to understand how someone never exposed to higher education can encourage students to go on.
In the past I have been fortunate to work many administrators whose experiance included careers outside of educations, whose background included building management, budgeting, and all importantly human resources and management. I felt that I was respected and encouraged to be independent and innovative and I was rewarded with professional respect. More and more I find administrators whose goal seems to either be micromanagement or the complete opposite. One forgotten factor: most administrators left teaching, that is not really to much of an endorsement of the profession.
To achieve some progress with this problem, may I suggest that we keep in mind that the most important part of education is the interaction between the student and his or her teacher, this is what teachers crave. All else is support.

Teachers do leave because of lack of respect from students and teachers. They also leave because of high stakes testing. One major factor, however, could be the lack of social communication in the teaching field. Often the only conversation--if time permits--is between co-workers and deals with the daily problems encountered on the job. The only other conversations are with kids-usually complaining! It can be a lonely experience!

First, I want to know what Brett is doing now! Second, people leave teaching because teaching is hard work. I routinely have to educate my friends and parents in the district as to the hours I work--both through the school year and in the summer. Third, teaching is hard work because we don't have a clear understanding of what education should be. We continually compare ourselves to other systems around the world, but those systems don't hold our democratic vision of education--they have exams to get into high school. We believe strongly in a democratic ideal when it comes to our education, but that gets subverted by our drive for excellence for every student (as demonstrated by the current push for standards and accountability measures). We, as a culture, need to determine the identity of our educational system. That will then drive our policies rather than have a system at the beck and call of the clever rhetoric of political speech writers. Until we decide our identity, we will continue to be driven by media and politics--which tend to report the bad news only. Until we give teachers more time in the school day to do the work which prepares them to teach and demand that the institutions responsible for training our teachers and writing policies in regard to education are run by people with significant classroom experience, this question will languish and remain virtually ignored.

I agree with almost everything I have read here. I left teaching because the salary was ridiculous, the working conditions were third world, and the administration didn't care. I am now dealing with a 17-year-old son who fits some of the descriptions of difficult students that others have noted -- he is impossible to motivate, he is constantly being punished for skipping class and poor grades, and I have tried everything I can think of to change his attitude. He was read to CONSTANTLY as a youngster, he did well in elementary school, and now he is the bane of a lot of teachers' existences. Public school is an amazing place where people work hard to help kids learn, but some kids are sitting at this banquet of knowledge and starving because it isn't what they want or need. Mine is one of them.

Now that I am a parent, I find it very difficult to manage the high demands of a classroom and demands from home. I often have to choose between doing school work ( so I won't get further behind ) or helping my 2nd grader study for her test. I ALWAYS chose to help her of course!!!!!!!! Just yesterday, I had to run to pick her up from school, get a bite to eat, and return to school until 7:15 pm to prepare for a quarterly visit from central office. Not to mention we will be monitored by the state for an entire week. I am sooooooooooooooo tired of being "looked at" through a microscope. I am beyond ready to quit. I have condensed my resume' to one page and will definitely circulate it during the summer.

I know several former teachers who left the profession early because the pay did not match the level of education needed, the continued education required, the long exhausting hours before-and-after school - working on weekends, during student vacations, (teachers do not get paid vacations), helicopter parents, etc., etc.

A Harvard study concluded that the only effective way to lure large numbers of good quality people to enter the teaching profession and to retain them is to make the pay and benefits commensurate with demands of the profession.

If teachers earned what doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other professionals earn, there would be no recruitment or retention issue.

I have to agree with the other Melissa: teaching is HARD work! It's not for everyone. Idealism is not enough. After seven years, I'm still in the classroom, so I don't know why others have left, but I do know why I have almost left. Pure exhaustion.

It's about time. Time to grade paper after paper after paper--to give them meaningful feedback. Time to give students the individual attention they need when class sizes reach 35. Time to collaborate with other teachers to improve my curriculum. Time to attend meetings and trainings. Time to communicate and conference with parents. And with what's left, time for my family and friends: my life outside of education.

So why am I still here? Perhaps a question as poignant and telling as as why teachers leave. Teaching is a love/hate relationship. It's a balancing act. And although on most days the pile teeters high above my head, threatening to rain down upon me, something has kept me going. That "something" comes in the form of my colleagues. They support me. They pick up the pieces. They listen to me. They inspire me. I wish I could say that it's the kids who keep me here, because I do adore them and I am here for them. But if I wasn't surrounded by reflective and professional colleagues who cared about their work... I don't know where I would be.

I was a Teacher of Science to 8th graders in New York City in the middle 80's. I have a Chemistry degree from Tulane University in New Orleans. I was not planning to Teach when I graduated from college, but I changed my mind about going to Medical School and I decided to work in my Parents field in the same school system.
From the very first school assignment(Joan of Arc JHS) I was placed in, I knew that I was in a no win situation. My 8th grade Science classroom had no books, no lab equipment, no running water for the front Teaching Lab Table, that same lab sink was full of garbage, this particular class had had a number of other substitutes that quit only after a short while, less than half of my class students attended their classess, I had mice and the list goes on and on.
The most essential reason I did not prefer to stay at that school at the end of the school was that the Principal did not support my disciplinary needs at all. There was a tremendous amount discipline problems that went unattended greatly that made it impossible to Teach very little subject matter not to mention there was only 14 or 15 very old, graffittied, degradated books for class sizes of 30+. I started to feel as though I was just baby sitting rather than Teaching and I was putting up with very serious verbal abuse daily by many students who did not respect the school or authority. This was at an upper west side school in 1985.
I left that assignment and moved on to an assignment that I thought would suit my needs. It was a Laboratory Specialist position in 2 schools in Brooklyn (Sheeps Head Bay and Coney Island). This position only called for me to Teach Lab classes for Teachers who were unable or unqualified to Teach this kind of subject matter. This was much better for me since I did not have to Teach a tremendous amount, I preferred the hands on Teaching classes rather than lecture style classes and I could choose which classes I believed would be Teachable. The Coney Island School was run very well with the normal amount of disciplary problems. The Sheeps Head Bay school was unbearable and I found myself having to defend myself in a Union court on false charges that later I won and was vindicated.
I left that school and was appointed to Teach 8th grade Earth Science at a School in East Harlem. I finally passed the State License exam and the NTE. It was the absolute worst experience I ever had. The principal found out about the Union case in my last position in Brooklyn and made every single day at that school during the '88-'89 school miserable. I had to stay at that school, meaning the principal could not out right fire me since I was appointed until the end of the year with proof of poor performance. So, that is exacly what he went about collecting every single day. He put more unsubstantiated documents in file for any and all reasons throughout the entire year. At the same time, I was working on my Master's in Secondary Science Education at CUNY or City College and I had a 3.3 average. I enjoyed that program, but hated the Teaching. There was undoubtedly no adminstrative support what so ever and the students knew it which made getting the respect from the students impossible, so I could not Teach anything the whole year. At the end, I took my case to court with a Union Lawyer and they throughout 75-80% of the documents in that file. The principal won the case that made it so that I could not Teach in that District again.
I found another position in a District in the Bronx where the Principal was a friend of friend. He overlooked that case and incident on my permanent record and gave me an 8th grade Science Teaching position. There was still a tremendous amount of disciplinary problems there, but this position was almost bearable and I finally received training workshops. I was starting to feel like I was going to grow in the profession. Then, the Science supervisor who was an AP with more years of experience than the Principal in the system found out about my past problems in other Districts and it all fell apart then. The principal could not back me since he would have to battle his Assisstant Principal who prepared to go all the way if need be to get me out of the position. The Principal was planning to retire after that school year, so he told me that I would have to find another school and district if I wanted to continue Teaching. I was also, Teaching after school programs with my father in Staten Island, as well as a summer program called "The Big Apple Games" in Far Rockaway Queens. After that school year ended in 1990 at that school in the Bronx, I suddenly got a job as a Chemist in Somerset, New Jersey and I never looked back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is difficult to describe how I feel. Yes, hurt, frustration, grief, and an achey null in my heart. Thirty-two innocent potential policy makers, presidents, research scientist, military commanders, aunts, uncles, favorite cousins, wiped out. I feel that this was a terrorist attack that parallel's 911 to some extent. What it alerts us to is a heighten need for security at our institutions, a more closely scrutinized law and gun control, and a measure to hold those who sell guns to an insane person criminally liable to some extent. I hate what happened for the university, the community, the families, and our nation. I am very sorry for the grief this young man's act of criminal cowardness caused his parents and relatives as well. For some, peace is far off and long coming.

Teachers quit because of administrators who offer very little to a learning community. I would go so far as to say that the current administrative culture is the root of the problem in our educational system - nationwide. I entered the classroom after 15 years in corporate communication positions - where I had to manage clients, staff, and budgets, and I come to my criticisms of educational administrators with a great degree of credibility. In truth, our schools are being run by a large majority of administrators with a coaching mentality - many of whom performed abysmally in the classroom as teachers and didn't know what else to do except to get an administrator's certificate. If these people actually had to earn MBA degrees in professional management, we'd then be able begin separating the men from the boys/ women from the girls.

It's astonishing to me that teachers are under such scrutiny RE: NCLB, etc., and yet here is little or no oversight for the institution of the Principalship. We need to put the administrative culture of our nation's schools under a microscope and make some major changes. It's rare to find both a competent manager who also possesses the ability to inspire a faculty through innovation. What we have, however, is more than a healthy dose of leaders who prefer to react first and think later. They bend to every force beyond their control: parents, government, etc, because they often lack the management savvy to deal with these entities. Those under their control -- teachers -- pay a dear price (more administrative paperwork, more parent conferences, draconian rules that make no pedagogical sense whatsoever, and more purposeless meetings) -- all of which take the teacher away from her/his work with students. Teachers aren't leaving the classroom because of poor pay - but they are leaving the profession in droves because they are not supported, they are not respected as professionals, and they are not trusted to do what is best for their students.

This reality puts our kids in dire straights. They can bubble in a multiple choice standardized test with great aplomb, but they can't think. What will they do when they encounter life situations for which there are no multiple choice/ true/false questions? We need educational leaders who can help solve this problem, not continue to worsen it. The heart of the matter, however, is that we have a nation of principals who simply don't know how. I'm very fortunate to have worked with an excellent leader who actually makes himself a student of school administration and curriculum/instruction. Unfortunately, he is anomalous among his peers.

Principals are managers and marketers. They plan, staff, organize, motivate, and control. They are the public interface between the school and its many publics - parents, other schools, the community. And in the process, they are responsible for setting the instructional vision for the school. This requires the best of the best, and we're not getting it -- not by a long shot.

For answers as to why we're skimming the bottom (in many respects) look to the top.

I am a special educator with 10 years of experience,a Master Degree,and several tests to prove that I am highly qualified.I very much enjoy teaching but in 10 years I have taught in 3 states and 4 school districts. The reasons I have left 3 of the 4 districts is due to lack of administrative support.

In one district I was in my 1st year of teaching that kind of a special education class. I had a student who had changed dramatically and suddenly. I was desperate for help. I asked my principal, vice principal and special education director for help and none was given to me. Soon after the student died and no support was given me,in fact I was told to act as if this child had never existed.

I have been in other careers before teaching. There are a lot of ways to show an employee that they are valued that do not have anything to do with money. Just as more is expected of teachers, more should be expected of school administrators. need to

I am exhausted, and I keep hoping a time will come when I am caught up with all the workload. Despite the hours put in, it never does. I need a vacation.

For me, the number one reason why I might want to quit teaching would be the complete lack of respect from parents and students. My collegues and I have literally been verbally abused by parents on a myriad of occasions, especially this year. We go into work fearing who will lash out at us because we were mean to their child, or because we caused their child to fail. It seems like every year the disrespect of both students and parents just gets more and more out of control.
Reason number two would be the lack of a reasonable pay and disrespect from administration, especially in light of all of the education and "highly qualified" stuff that is now required of us. In the 1970's, my father who was a foreman at a factory, (he only had a high school education) was paid more that I am currently making with 8 years experience, a Master's in education, endorsement in English, a high Praxis score, and a "highly qualified" label. I owe about 80 thousand dollars in student loans and can barely pay this back.

I think the biggest problem for the added workload of teachers is the goverment. For some reason state goverment feels that the school system should be the dumping ground for societies' problems. Will cure it with this program or another program. Where do they put these programs - in the school system. Sometimes just keeping track of where each student is going at what time for what program can add a tremendous amount of stress. Finding a time when you have enough students to teach can be a real challenge.

I left the teaching profession two years ago, mostly because I had been in a reduction in force and was forced to take a low-paying (even lower than public school) early childhood position.

I am desperate to return to the classroom, because corporate America is a miserable substitute for a classroom. I'll happily take on the workload, the pressure, and the frustration to be doing something meaningful to children and families again.

I have been teaching for fifteen years in two different countries. I love, I mean, really love my profession but I had thought many times how would my life be working on another field. Why? Class size is critical. How are we expected to teach with overcrowded classes of students all learning in a different way? Excessive, non-sense testing. Everyone talks about differentiated learning, learning styles etc.. but we are killing our students with fill the bubble testing where there is no real assessment. Why we quit? Because we have been pushed away from what we really want to do; deliver real life education, to "teach for the test instruction". For me it is not about a higher salary or quality professional development, which in the end I would get no matter what if I consider myself a good teacher. It is about how the whole system has been falling apart and no one seems to care. In the meantime, our kids are raising the drop out rates nationwide and homeschooling is growing as the preferred choice for parents. Honestly, I do not blame them.

Under this climate, a teacher who feels a true passion for his profession has to think about quitting at some point out of frustration and dissapointment. And then, people ask why we quit such a noble profession.

I can tell you one reason teachers quit. I am a second year teacher who has been told to quit or be non-renewed and then not have a reference for future positions if I chose to teach again. I dont think I will. I gave this position 120% of myself only to be told at the end of the year that I had not done enough and they could not tell me what would have been enough. I had 4 administrators evaluating me on 4 different scales that were not communicating with one another about what they told me to do. I was told how the county wanted and what the state wanted but since the administrators were not familiar with the curriculum or what the state advised us to do, I was not doing what they wanted. I graduated Magna Cum Laude at age 35. First job at 35, lost my second by 37. I wasted 6 years of my life preparing for the perfect career for me, my life long dream, just to be told that the best I could do... was not enough. Why would any one want to work this hard for not enough money, too many hours and to be told everyone else could do this job better than a Middle School Science Education Major with a 3.87 GPA. But I will miss the students, they needed me.

Note that the study covers the 2004-2005 school year. What is meaningful about that year? It is that it was a year deep into the upside of the present economic cycle. That meant that private industry jobs were plentiful and salaries good. Under such conditions, job changing is relatively easy for many professionals, not just teachers. Wait until the next major economic downturn, and I predict that teacher leaving rates will undergo a major decline.

Other factors mentioned in the preceding posts still are important and should be addressed, where economically doable.

Here are some factors that run teachers out of the "profession" and no matter how much more money you pay them, it will not bring them back. Until teachers are treated like professionals by their principals and school district personnel, they will not be treated as professional by anyone else.

When a principal tells you that teachers and students are like brothers and sisters and that he and his administrators are the parents, you as a teacher can't feel too professional. This perception by principals is quite prevalent in many of our schools. Students pick up on this and out the window goes classroom management.

You have principals that are FORMER coaches. Had they been good coaches, they would still be coaching, but instead they end up as supervisors of teachers, with little or no knowledge of curriculum, but they think they are curriculum leaders. Would an industry place a mediocre worker as their CEO? I think NOT!

Then you have the unending useless mandatory staff developments. The majority of the time they have nothing to do with pedagogy. So why do they force teachers to participate in these useless activities?

Many teachers work in a state of fear and intimidation placed upon them by administrators. Only if they followed Deming's advice and actually give them some academic freedom as is done in the Post-secondary world, then we could keep most of the best ones and the students would be the ultimate winners.

I assist in hiring teachers. I believe the job in my school district is not to just hire teachers but to retain them. So when I recruit, I tell the perspective teachers the guts and the glory of teaching. After hearing that if they still want to teach more power to them. There is no honeymoon period in teaching, you are expected to jump in with both feet and perform miracles.BUT if you truly love teaching no can deter you from doing what you were called to do, not even an administrator who appears to make your job more difficult than it already is. This profession has lost some good souls who I believe were meant to make the difference in the lives of our children by teaching. I hope they decide after a break to give it another shot. Teaching is tough, seemingly unrewarding but the payoff is terrific! Teach them with your knowledge, lead them with your heart.

I am a math teacher at an alternative school in North Carolina. I am about to leave the profession because it is becoming a stress and health issue for me. The kids are lazy and you have no support from the parents. The only time they want to met with the teachers is when their child is about to be terminated for the rest of the school year and they don't want them at home with them. In my opinion if my child was to be long term suspended from public school, I would make damn sure that I am involved in their education from here on out, evidently if my child was long term suspended from public school I must have not been on top of things concerning my child's education. Another reason I am leaving is that the parents want to blame the teacher of why their child is failing.

If you are considering pay as a reason teachers are leaving the profession, might I suggest you come to New Mexico? The unions have a mere peripheral presence in the rural areas and across the board the salaries are the most competative in the southwest. A Level I (first 3-5 years, probationary license) teacher starts at $30,000, a Level II (next 7 years) starts at $40,000 and a Level III (masters degree and submission of a professional dossier) begins at $50,000 a year. New Mexico is one of the poorest states in the union and EVEN THEN, our legislature has been able to implement this 3 teir pay scale to attract and keep good quality teachers. We have the same,(if not worse) social problems for which our educational system has taken responsibility: poor nutrition, medical needs not being met, nobody being home after a child returns home from school, etc. But, compared with the standard of living in these rural areas, we are more than financially compensated for our work.

I really love my job but I can see why so many, including myself at times, throw their hands up in the air and want to give up. So much administrative and accountability issues have been thrown into what we do in the classroom that it detracts from teaching itself. I spend so much time documenting parent phone calls,collecting and filing authorization forms, recording what I did or did not do to help a child succeed, etc....that I wonder when I am finally going to get to teach. Sometimes I feel like I need a personal secretary. We get paid very little and work so very long and hard. Most of the feedback we receive is negative from parents and administration. If there was a way for administrators to minimize the tasks being asked of educators, and give incentives to those educators who go the extra mile for their students, I think it might have an impact on the number of discouraged ones leaving the profession.

Has anyone looked at any other companies or professions that don't have retention issues paralleling those of the teaching profession? Of course not, because THERE AREN'T ANY! People get frustrated with their jobs no matter what they do. Education is especially affected because of the need, but the medical profession has the same issue. Nurses (who are well paid and have the same, if not more administrative documentation to do) are severely lacking. Do people not choose nursing because the paperwork is too intense, the patients are too mean and rowdy, the administrators act ridiculously, or the families would rather blame an incompetant nurse for their loved-one's ailments? Of course not! Nursing is hard. Teachers leave because teaching is hard. Period.

"When a principal tells you that teachers and students are like brothers and sisters and that he and his administrators are the parents, you as a teacher can't feel too professional. This perception by principals is quite prevalent in many of our schools. Students pick up on this and out the window goes classroom management."

That is just so wrong on so many levels. It's a stupid analog at best IMO.

Firstly, I am a teacher. I am not there to be a close relative of the students.

Secondly, you will not get any respect from students if they think they are on the same level as you are.

Thirdly, if a principal or administrator ever told me that, I would ask them if they have been taking any illegal drugs.

Lastly, it is time for teachers to take back the classroom.

I struggle with a feeling where I lack the ability to really make a difference. My students pay very little attention to their learning, care less about doing HW, give up too easily, do not want to try to think and are not interested in listenting, whether it is listening to eachother or listening to me. I have a feeling of isolation (I am the only math teacher in a K-8 school) and I receive very little day to day support from my district. I am basically trying to learn how to teach math on my own. It is doubly frustrating when the students just don't care. I find myself questioning why am I doing this?

Teachers quit because they are tired of being told they don't know what they are talking about. But we do. Many of us have the experience base, and keep up with the research. Instead of being treated as a professional, we are often treated as though we have a disease. Firing the principal----works for me! The other thing that bothers alot of us, is being held accountable for things we cannot control. From the child's homelife, to the school district's reluctance to spend money and non-economic resources wisely. Most SD's who are there for the kids , are not.

I entered the teaching profession five years ago and have been teaching GED for the past year and a half. I obtained an additional masters to be qualified to teach on all levels. Even though I have more qualification that the administrative staff, I am constantly micro-managed, questioned and directed. The program achievements have been successful this year largely in part to my teaching style and ability. The job is awful, the support is not there and the students(adults) are no bettter than the K-12 students, the pay is low and the rewards are mimimal. I am anxious to leave and planning to return to what my manager calls a professional job -insurance. So if management doesn't think what we do is professional what is it. I am quitting for lack of support, low pay, lack of integrity in the field and constant pressure to jump to the changes

The American educational system needs a complete overhaul. I am a science teacher and I have taught in NYC public schools and currently teaching in Atlanta public schools. The amount of stress is ridiculous. Constant pressure on standardized tests cut down on the creativity of your lessons and just wanting the kids to learn for learning's sake and fun. Also,school districts try to replace the home life with endless school activities. I do not remember staying in HS until 8-9 pm at night yet on a weekly basis I hear about how a student is so tired and could not study because of football, basketball , drama, step team practice until all hours of the night.Parents do not help either, a large portion of my students work at least 3-4 days a week to help out with household bills, in addition to other household ills-drug abuse, domsetic violence,etc. There is only 1 school social worker for 1200 kids? How ironic that Bush instituted NCLB,a proud C student who couldn't think his way out of a paper bag. I stay because I enjoy the students and like the challenge, but it gets harder everyday.

I was hired by an administrator who had my back. I needed this or that, he helped me get it. The numbskulls at the D.O. wanted to impose the latest "Best Practices" du jour? He ran cover, interceded, and left me to do what I did best.

Wasn't he the exception! How was I to know? Now, the administrator is little more than a District Office mouthpiece, he has no leadership skills, students are running away with the quad, he has little vision, no foresight, and operates in a constant 'what-needs-to-be-done-right-now' mode. Aside from that, he's a nice guy.

The D.O. decided to go all k-8, eliminating one hour of English per day and laying off copious qualified full time educators. Now, it seems they've overreached, and only one school will go k-8 but they haven't told anyone, half the staff is gone anyways.

Me, they told me my job was being eliminated, though I wasn't. I see this as a prime opportunity to take a one-year leave and take care of me.

When I was in business, the means to growth was to hire, train and retain new people.

Education seems to have no clue as to how to retain good people. They have a top-down, dictumus maximus approach that is devoid of people skills and reflects the myopic, theoretical chess playing of a hermit.

Do good administrators exist? They must, I saw one once.

I'm 45, and in 4 weeks I'll be getting out after five years of full-time teaching. It isn't the pay; teachers have been getting kicked in the pants as far as pay goes for as long as I can remember. Student teaching was a painful experience for me; I probably should've got out there and then. I thought that I could learn to love the profession once I get my own classroom. Well, I've come to the conclusion that I'm not going to love it. Teaching is either excites you or it burns you out. Unfortunately for me, it was the latter.

For the past two years, I've been in rural schools with small class sizes and seemingly supportive leadership. If I couldn't do it here, then I simply couldn't do it. I just wasn't the motivator type who can play the role of the cheerleader in the classroom. This job is for the more outgoing type of person, not for a person like me. If I had something to offer at one time, I don't have it anymore.

If you like teaching, don't quit. If you hate it, be good to yourself and do something else. It's safe to say that I'm thoroughly disillusioned with education.

PLEASE PARDON ANY SPELLING ERRORS

In spite of testing concerns, low salaries, difficulty with students and parents, teachers, especially first year teachers, can succeed and stay committed to the task. I've observed in many cases that the determining factor is administration support. If a new teacher finds herself/himself hung out to dry when discipline problems arise or angry parents come to visit, he/she will get discouraged quickly. Feeling that you are exposed to abuse with no protection and that you can't teach because of rowdy classes will discourage anyone. I've been teaching for 15 years, but I remember vividly when my situation was much worse.

Teavchers have always left teaching in large numbers during their first five years of teaching.
The only new things are a recent increase in the percentage and a change in the impact on testing
and accountability. Teachers must now teach to
increase test scores not real student learning.
Most teachers who really care about student learning find that they can NOT work toward that
real goal of education.

I left high school English not because of money, lack of support, changing student demographics, too many English language learners, too few textbooks, or any of the other items that faculty complain about--although I saw all those in my five years of teaching in the '90s. I left because the amount of students I had was insane. I really believed (still believe) in the "write every day--because it will make you a better writer" mentality postulated by many language arts curriculum developers and language theorists--but there was no way I could even remotely do that with between 30-35 students in EVERY class, and almost 40 students at one point in my Honors English class (we only just had enough desks, had to drag one in). Between 150-175 students, the mountain of paperwork was totally overwhelming, although I tried to keep it organized (and tried to enlist the students to do so as well), it was just insane. So, what? Better that I don't have them write? Just ignore my beliefs about properly teaching a subject I love? I taught in three schools over five years, and loved the high school level--I really liked the students, I even liked the subject matter--the texts we read, all that. I have a Masters degree, and consider myself well-educated, organized, and a compassionate educator. But the numbers of students was truly overwhelming. I had similar experiences to others mentioned here--verbally abusive students AND parents--spending my own money to buy things I needed for class--couldn't get students to read outside of class--and on and on. I was paid well enough, due to my education level, so it never ever has been about money. Other things educators complain about--those things I didn't worry so much about. This is California, and I know we have diverse social and economic populations. But you cannot teach in a societal vaccuum...I now work as a college administrator (ironic), LOVE IT, and teach one English class as an adjunct faculty member--it has twenty students. I have loved teaching more in the past year of class than I ever did as a K-12 teacher. Sad.

My neighbor did her student teaching and graduated in her mid/late 40's. She couldn't have been more thrilled to begin. She lasted 1.5yr. Last straw was being unable to reach any administrator while a big, tall boy tossed furniture.

I subbed the last 2 wks. of school for a teacher whose M.D. advised it to alleviate her migraines. Besides, she told me, she didn't like what she was turning into. She quit.

I'm quitting after this school year to go back to a better-paying job so we can afford to send our kids to college. I'd have to earn a Master's to teach in this state, and for the # of years I have left b/f retirement, a teacher's salary won't make up the cost of a Master's degree.

Teachers leave the for various reasons but the one I hear talked about the most is because they no longer have control of their classroom. The administration is so concerned about the high stakes testing that teachers are constantly asked to spend hours assessing student progress which takes alot of time away from teaching. If teachers were allowed to teach more and assess less test scores would be higher and teachers would be happier.

I am a teacher who has experienced all the reasons plus some. I subbed and I have had my own classroom and I have taught "an special subject". The lack of respect and support is definitely my biggest reason for leaving the public schools. However, I found that after a time away I greatly missed teaching. I am now teaching in the early childhood field and maybe I will return to public school but there most definitely has to be some changes in the system. Thank you all for the posts. I am so encouraged to know that I am not the only one to know these situations and issues.

Dear teachers,
This may surprise you, but I have finally become wiser than you give me credit for and I am now different than you used to be when you were in school. I can no longer sit in a classroom and you tell me what I want to learn. I am exposed to a lot of information through the internet and television. I see wealthy people on tv everyday who may have graduated from school,but did not attend college and still became wealthy. They said it was because thay had someone to teach them about finance and they were not taught this in school. I actually have interests and you seem to not be interested in what my interests are. Maybe I want to be a basketball coach. How are you going to help me with this if you are not a coach yourself? Sit me in a classroom to learn about Monet and I will zone out. Sit me in a classroom learning about cellular division and I assure you I am only thinking about how I am going to ask the girl out in front of me. Maybe I want to learn about automobiles and how they work. Then I will do whatever it takes to learn how they work. Maybe this will motivate me to learn about physics and geometry and chemistry for when I want to put NOS in my car. Maybe I want to learn about ceiling fans. I may be really into how they work and become a success later on in life because this was my focus. I am really interested in having my own business because I don't think I will make a good employee. My parents do not talk to me about this and neither do my teachers. Why am I in school if you are only going to make me learn things I don't care to. I seem like a problem child because you don't understand me. It is not that I don't respect you. I just don't see how you are going to help me succeed in life when you are not helping me with what I am interested in. College is so expensive and I have been told that I am going to owe more money than I will actually make in a lifetime. Why would I want to do that? I tell you what my interests are but you have to make sure that I pass a test so that you don't get fired. I am not responsible for that. I really don't know why I go to school besides it being a routine and I just do it. If I have to do this, what am I going to get in return?

Public school teachers and students are now caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Given the testing culture rampant in our schools, neither teachers nor students can possibly win. Teachers are forced to teach to the test and students are forced to pass the tests. Neither enjoys school any longer.

If teachers can't enjoy what and how they teach, how can we expect children to cheerfully and compliantly accept a daily diet of worksheets, timed math facts drills, timed reading fluency drills and hours of practice to bubble in the correct circles?

Where are the hands-on projects, the field trips, the science experiments, the class pets, the filmstrips, the read alouds, and the class celebrations? Where are the activities that engage children's imaginations and allow them to be children? Thanks to NCLB, all of the things that make school and learning fun and exciting for children have been laid aside in favor of drills and endless practice. Then we have the audacity to blame the children when they don't want to learn in the way we are forced to teach.

As adults, would we willingly accept the daily drudgery we are dishing out to our students? Do we want the focus of our education to be on how fast we can read aloud or how many math facts we can complete? If adults were forced to accept this kind of mind-numbing "education" everyday, there would be a revolution. Hmmm, maybe a revolution in the teaching industry is what we're seeing with so many dedicated and talented teachers leaving the profession.

Well, "Student" (if you indeed are - I have my doubts, based upon your sentence structure), allow me to address your statements. First, students are not old enough, nor experienced enough, to know what constitutes an education or what they need to know to function in a literate society, or to succeed in university-level course work. You claim to be wise because of your exposure to a wide array of media nad information. My friend, exposure to these things does not make one eudcated. Extended study, reading, writing, and practice in the art of study allows one to become educated. The narcissism in your post is astounding. You apear to believe that teachers exist to entertain you, and/or to allow you to study only things that "interest" you. Sorry, it does not work that way. Your statements indicate that you do not undrstand, at ll, the teacher-student realtionship. You are NOT equal to your teachers, regardless of what you may believe. Teachers are masters of their content, and also have a general backgroud knowledge that teenagers simply have not had time to build in themselves. Your job as a student is to study and learn the curriculum prescribed for you, by those who know more than you. If you do not like that arrangement, you may, of course, opt out of the system.

Now hit the books.

Previous comments that state teachers take a break while kids are reading are a prime example of the lack of respect teachers experience for what they do. What may look like taking a break to someone outside the profession is, in my world, grading papers, preparing for the next lesson, maintaining classroom discipline, and a myriad of other tasks that teachers are required to complete almost instantaneously.

Many relatively easy mechanisms can be instituted, formally or informally, to reduce instructor isolation and facilitate mentoring and inter-disciplinary collaboration. At my small hinterland campus of Penn State, faculty have established two groups, the Ad Hoc Committee on Promotion of Non-Tenure Faculty, and GRIDS (Group for Research and Inter-Disciplinary Scholarship). Faculty participation is completely voluntary. Neither group makes policy or promotion decisions. But we talk, deeply and often. The exchanges have been productive at many levels, even though both groups are newly formed. Anyone interested in learning more, can email me.

All the ideas for ‘school improvement’ and ‘education reform’ assume that teachers must remain employees and that an administrator, such as a principal, must be in charge. But it is clearly conceivable for teachers like doctors, lawyers, and other professionals to work with partners in groups they collectively own; serving a client in an arrangement that gives them both the autonomy we associate with professionalism and the accountability we expect from professionals.

There are arrangements like this springing up across the country. They are called Teacher Professional Partnerships (TPPs). See: http://www.educationevolving.org/teacherpartnerships/

When a TPP accepts the responsibility to manage, or arrange for the management of, one or more schools, the teachers are directly responsible and accountable for what happens at the learning communities they serve.

TPPs can radically change what happens inside schools. When teachers are part of a TPP, their attitudes and behaviors change dramatically. Having accepted responsibility for the school the teachers realize their success depends on the students (learning outcomes, entry and exit of "consuming" students and families, and so much more). So they give students serious responsibilities. Parents and students can contribute usefully to school governance; students sometimes helping to select people to work at the school. Teachers turn this positive culture into student success.

What else is in it for teachers? Partners of TPPs continue as teachers while assuming entrepreneurial and administrative roles. In more traditional arrangements they must give up classroom duties if they want to move-up in the field of education. This limitation is not an appealing option for all teachers. "Very frankly," the late Arley Gunderman used to say in private discussions, out of his long experience as an elementary school principal and as president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, "my job is to motivate as much as I can, for as long as I can, people who are in essentially dead-end jobs."

I think that a major reason teachers leave the profession, in addition to those mentioned, is an absolute lack of support from administration. Competent administrators are hard to find in Oregon, where I live. As a result, many currently in administrative postions were only adequate teachers themselves rather than top shelf, master teachers. The building principal should be a master teacher with leadership abilities (read: interrelationship skills) and a vision for where education needs to go.

Having served temporarily as a teacher's aide and
Spanish teacher (one year) at a Christian school,
I have to say that a primary reason I quit had everything to do with the administration and the way they would jump on a teacher for the least little mistake. It might not be that way at every school, but that is the way it was for me. If there could be less fault finding by those in charge, I think more teachers might stay on.

Seems to me that the "student" that made that posting exposed another ill of education where some teachers assume that they are gods without flaws and that everything that they say is gold. I can definantly see why these teachers quit. I also think that the "student" made Warrn show his ignorance as well. You assume that children who come to school are static and will not have their own viewpoints, needs, or strengths. I believe what that person described was a Learner-Focused Curriculum and was not being narcissistic. According to Eisner, teachers have to be entertainers which he commonly refers to this as the "Art of Teaching." This is a type of open curriculum that allows students to be involved in their own learning. This type of approach promotes self actualization and critical thinking. This curriculum offers children freedom of choice. When you empower someone, they are interested and they are motivated. We are in the third wave of society (information/technological) where the world has become smaller and jobs that were here before are being phased out. Teachers have to find new and multiple ways of engaging their students in order to help them meet the demands of ever changing society. That old I am the teacher(in many eyes, the boss) is long gone.

Teachers are leaving the profession because lack of parental support, student and parental respect, high stakes testing and finger pointing. Often when scores are reported, there are many stories behind why they are what they are. All the powers that be are looking at are the numbers, not individual students.

Teachers are leaving because teachers are not respected in the profession. Teachers need more money for their time. They need to be safe from violent parents and students while at work.

I wanted to teach and make a difference in the lives of children. My college experience more than amply provided me with the neccesary education to have a successful teaching career. So when I started my first teaching job I was confident that I would be a success. While I loved the interaction with the students, I soon realized that neither my professionalism, my educational background or my love of teaching children mattered much to those in charge.

Special education teachers are so bogged down with the legalities of paperwork, deadlines, meetings during class instruction time, that there is hardly any quality time left to teach. In my situation there was never any administrative support. Special Education teachers were required to wear many hats. So many that the 6 hour school day just was not long enough to accomplish all the task required. The last year that I taught was in a new district and I did not have tenure. I was out of work often due to kidney stones. There was nothing I could do. Naturally while I was out this made my many task pile up. When I returned I was supposed to just catch up on my own with no help from anyone. This was vertually impossible. So at the end of the school year my contract was not renewed. Due to this I have been put on the blacklist. I cannot get another teaching job. I have no references. I do miss the classroom and teaching, but I do not anticipate ever teaching again in the public school. I have many good ideas, I know that without a doubt I could make a difference in many young minds but the stress of it all is just more than I can handle. I salute all the teacher out there, especially the ones in situations like the ones I taught in. You are all truly angels. You deserve a whole lot more. God bless you.

I am ofcourse not sure why teachers quit but maybe they need new influence, new experience.
just get away for a while and see it from the outside.
I went to Thailand to teach 2 years ago and that really opened op my eyes. I got a whole new angle to teaching and found new energy to do my work.

If anyone would like to come and try there is still a big need and a ok pay. More than enought to live here but not enough to pay bills at home at the same time. So if you are not too tied up, maybe it would be something for you. feel free to write me with any questions.
[email protected]

The reason could be, as I have been teaching 14 years, licensed in 4 different states, certifified in three areas and a 2nd masters to boot, was evaluated this year and told I do not get along with my dept, other staff members, care greatly about my students and demonstrate this daily, do not plan with my other teachers, talk to much, told not to ever use my laptop in the classroom (even when with other students), to move around the room, etc. I was amazed as I was viewed three times for a total evaluation time of 15 minutes. I have been paired up with teachers who do not wich me to lead teach, roll their eyes when I add information to a lesson, or when the lesson I have prepared was lost due to a computer crash and we communicated how to handle it, I wanting to move forward with the text book rather than powerpoint and do an interactive simulation of severe weather and use a cd on it was informed by the led teacher he had plenty of stuff and would take over, I said no, but was told to just support. He reported to the supervisor I was interviewed by that I was unprepaired and refused to teach and does not know what to do with me. I agreed with this teacher to not buck his athority in the room and have kept my word. In 14 years I have never written up as many kids as I have just in his class alone. He hands me the referral and then I fill it out. I have become the thump. He says we do not plan, I have offered and he never has time. I offer to do things with the class that are 3D teaching and he refuses and two days later does. The day I was observed in his room I was between two special ed students assisting them in staying on task, handed another an extra copy of my notes, made sure another did not sleep, spoke individually to all the students. The observer left 5 minutes later and then the teacher left me to do busy work with 7 students one week before SOL testing as punishment and took the rest to the computer lab to do a webquest which would assist them in passing the SOL. I offered yesterday "How can I assist you and the students with the lesson?" I was told you can't. I then said "When would you like plan for what we are going to do after the SOL test on Monday? He just looked at me and said nothing. Then twenty minutes into class he tells me he has to leave early for a tennis match and will I be in the room. I responded yes I am always here unless I give you previous notice so you can adjust correctly. He then finished the video as I kept the students on task and then promised to take them to the computer lab. When time came for him to leave he said they were not going to the lab. He left me reviewing test questions with them, interrupted me twice by returning and restating what I just said then by having to comply with the firemarshall's review of his room.

This is the same man who had to be reminded by me aabout a meeting on a child, discussed what we were going to say and when in the meeting he turned yellow and did not support me but did lie about the student and her behavior. I was made to look bad.

The other teachers I teach with all refused to let me assist in lesson planning as they already had their program in order, told me to just take care of the special ed students. The one young lady I teach with openly undermineded an agreement on a testing date for a student we had set right in front of me. Then she took it upon herself to coordinate their accomodations but did not do so, I was the one doing it. I asked how I could assist with the lessons and she could not answer. I asked when she wanted to plan together and she answered me that she was not good at that. She told my observer I did nothing in class.

When being told how my observations went, do to my actions at the meeting a week ago stating the truth about a student, I was told what a bad teacher I was, how I did nothing with my peers, 90% of planning done by the lead teachers, all grading and all I did was sit. UNTRUE - then he said I talk to much, treat others in the build poorly, have difficulty with my department and was putting me on an improvement plan the day I walk back into the school next year. He kept telling me I could disagree with him. I said why, I have tried to verse my side, you saw 15 minutes of me in 180 days, I am at work before you and leave after you working with students, I have had numerous teachers assist me, I taught a reading course without supplies and the students are doing better than the ones currently taking the same course with a non Reading Specialist. I have given up many hours, and how can telling a parent the truth be a detriment to us. I do my job and I do not degrade the other teachers. As far as guidance you apparently believe that scheduling students inappropriately is acceptable. All I did was try to find out what was being done. I also said I did not wish to create an adversarial situation in the email.

The Asst. Principal said he did not know that and I need to show improvement and it would behoove me to before the end of the year.

I have ADHD but do not let that stop me. The administration does not comply with ADA.

Teachers quit becuase of the poor observation skills of the principals, they do witch hunts via using an emotional compass rather than a rational oone and then negatively present their oppinions while tell you to promote the positive. I lost all respect for the administration and with my 2nd Masters in this area know you do not get good results from people by belittling them and threatenting them and telling them they are terrible.
We deal with complex students, who have many distractions we never had to experience, new teacher would rather be friends with the students or tyrants and fear collaboration with Special education. They also are the me me me generation. This creates a building of low expectations, favors, special considerations to different students and lots of wall talk and back stabbing. Unfortunate.

On May 8, 2007, I handed the Human Resources Manager at Faith Temple Christian Academy (NEW PROVIDENCE, BAHAMAS) my "Letter Of Leaving". This was my 4th time along this path since graduating from NEW YORK INSTITUTE of TECHNOLOGY - Central Islip Campus, and my 3rd time since working as a technical instructor in the Bahamas.

The administration at Faith Temple Christian Academy [F.T.C.A.] believes that teachers should not defend themselves when students physically assault them!! My opinion and their beliefs came into conflict when an 8th Grader, who assaulted me in November 2006, did so again in Feb.2007!!! Only, this time I returned the favor. THEY CALLED IN THE PARENTS, BUT, GAVE ME A SCOLDING BEFORE THE PARENTS AND THE CHILD. THEREAFTER THE PRINCIPAL PINNED A NASTY REPORT ON MY FILE!!!

On Tuesday, May 8, 2007 I received my 3rd assault at the hand of an F.T.C.A. student. This one is a member of the Senior Boys’ Basketball team, 6ft. 3inch. tall and weighs about 230 lbs. !!!!!! NO, I WAS NOT GOING TO FIGHT THIS ONE! I handed in my "Letter Of Leaving".

NOW THERE IS A VACANCY FOR A GRAPHICAL COMMUNICATIONS & TECHNICAL DRAWING INSTRUCTOR AT F.T.C.A.

Teachers quit for multiple reasons, I really believe there is not one area to address here, it is more the fact that they feel they are losing battles on multiple fronts, and this is where they succumb to the stress and realize that it is just not what they had envisioned, or just can't deal with it anymore. In large urban school districts, the lack of respect is now greater than ever before - from students, parents, administrators, and at times, even from colleagues.

Factor in the stress that NCLB has injected into the political aspect of teaching, and the realty has become even gloomier. In many urban schools, the plain truth is that many students do not feel the importance of passing a standardized test, and for a student that has no intention of going to college, they think - why should it matter. Their parents don't care, they just want their sons and daughters to stay out of trouble and get a job (in the most optimistic settings).

Yet, administrators need high test scores to meet AYP and teachers need high test scores to save their jobs in many cases. This is what it has come down to, and it is unrealistic.

If the roles were reversed for politicians, than we should hold all those in public office accountable for election turnouts. Every election day, public officials should be judged based on voter turn out. If turn out fails to reach 99% of the electorate population, than measures should be taken as a result.

For insatance, a given public officials salary should be tied to election turnout. If the turnout for a given race, is only 70% or even 40%, than maybe, that politician should only earn 70% or 40% of the stated salary, along with 70% or 40% (respectively) 0f the stated benefits.

After all, if democracy and freedom are truely the ideals that are most highly regarded in our country, than penalties should be enacted for causing voter apathy, which the political collective have caused through years of scandals, coverups, campaign mudslinging, lack of foresight, political nepotism, noncommittment to voter issues, and greedy self interest.

This is not a backlash, per say, as it is the utter disaappointment that average americans are more concerned with, and willing to pay to partake in the results of a TV show like American
Idol, than to be concerned enough to go to the polls on election day and exercise their given right to determine the future of the country.

Hard to accept, but true, politicans are more responsible for voter disenchantment than schools and teachers are for student disinterest. Perhaps, if the scales were balanced, than policymakers would wakeup to the reality that NCLB is extremely impractical and is a growing factor for keeping educators in the profession they have sacrificed to be in.

Teachers and classified staff have to deal with abuse by administators who are on the war path. It seams to me the biggest offenders are new principal's who are attempting to make a name for themselves.
Rather then motivate and inspire they tend to intimidate and harass those who they feel are weak. We as teachers in order to survive must put up with routine harassment from not only the administrators, but students themselves with fear of retribution if they refer a student due to disciplanary reasons.
The biggest losers in this struggle are well meaning kids who must witness this cycle. Often students will join in the behavior to not become an outcast by their peers due to social presures being placed on them.
In the mean time we as a nation are failing compared to the rest the world when it comes to how our students are achiving. The administrative hierarchy develops rhetorical goal statements that state things like "excellence in education" rather then state the truth of where their schools actually place.
I will hear statements like the United States is the most productive nation in the world, but in reality how much of this can be credited to secondary education? We see bumper stickers that state "if you can read this thank a teacher", rather then the fact that as a nation we rank very low in math and science. How about a bumper sticker that says if you are unemployed, blame a teacher, or rather an administrator in denile.
When I entered the profession I was full of excitement and hope, now the most common things I hear teachers talk about are the number of days till summer, and years till retirement.

I can assure you, Substitute, that I am far from ignorant in the methods of pedagogy (17+ years in the classroom, two Masters, and the PhD in ed). It DOES NOT MATTER that students come to school with their "own viewpoints and opinions". They are far too young to have formed relevant viewpoints or opinions.
And I completely disagree with Eisner's assertion that teachers should be "entertainers". Entertaining at times, yes, but not song and dance people. We are here to teach the content of our respective disciplines. You may believe that the old "I am the teacher, you are the student" model is long gone, and it may be in some unfortunate districts, but the simple fact is that that is the method that works best. If students were actually capable of teaching themselves, they would do so.

So, why do teachers quit? There are as many reasons as there are former teachers. I do not quit because I know that what I am doing is relevant, important, and, despite some detractors, my methods work, regardless of how unfashionable said metods may be in the eyes of "progressive" educators.

Data are not conclusive that the rate of teachers leaving the classroom is any different than centuries ago. A longitudinal study comparing rates over a 50 year period may show the rates are the same. I do not know of a longitudinal study with a large sample size but would be interested if one did exist. As a contrast to the premise that teachers leave in larger numbers than any other profession, colonial teachers remained in an area for only a short time. Plus, female teachers stayed during the 60s onward because teaching was a means to increase social status. Teachers also tend to move from entry teaching positions (any job at the lowest achieving schools) to perceived better positions at higher performing schools.

http://www.retainingteachers.com/

Let's face it, education is NOT important to American society. Oh sure, we give all of this lip service to this "noble" profession and we nearly wave the flag, say our prayers, and recite the Pledge of Allegiance with the same nationalistic sentiment when we say that "educating America's youth is important," but is it really true? In a very practical way, that statement is true; but in a very pragmatic way, i.e. through the way teachers are treated and the realities they face economically and professionally, our politicians and our society really do not care which is evident through their actions. Let me present some questions here.

How do you require professional development for teachers and then not provide any financial incentive for teachers to continue with their educations? How do you demand excellent teaching and teaching methods when we force teachers to teach classes of 30 or more? How do you compete with playstations, computers, Ipods, cable television, and other societal opiates just to get kids to read a single novel? Why have a curriculum that is based on the misguided belief that all students are going to college? I heard Melinda Gates talk about that on NPR the other day and it made me sick. Has she been in a classroom full of kids who see no purpose to school? I know I have. But it's really easy to sit from an ivory tower with the golden parachute of billions of dollars next to you and tell educators what they should and should not do. Rather, I have the wisdom of experience and I have been in classrooms where kids are thinking about how they are going to get their next meal or when they are going to get high or drunk again. On average, I can identify 4 to 5 kids per class period who really give a damn about reading, writing, thinking, and speaking in a logical, cogent manner.

I have worked for good administrators, bad administrators, and all of those in between. I have worked in school districts which have it together and those which are in disarray. It's the same story everywhere. You go one place and you trade in one set of problems for another. Either it's the kids, or it's the administrators; it's fellow teachers sometimes; it's politics; it's a bad day; sometimes it's you. But you get to the end of the day and you ask yourself, "Did I make a positive difference for kids today?" And I can answer yes pretty much all of the time. But it wears on you and you get tired. You can only read so many papers in a given night. You can only do so much for someone who may or may not be interested in trying to improve. You can only work so hard for so long.
Indeed, this is a noble profession but so is being crucified. And we wonder why so many teachers leave the profession. I will probably be one of them.

I love teaching and I believe I will stay no matter what, but I think teachers quit because they are not allowed to be teachers, they're not supported and many other reasons. At my school the schedule is set for us and we are not allowed to linger on a certain subject if the schedule says to move onto something else. We are penalized if we are not on schedule. Also, politicians run the classrooms. Those people who don't teach and has never taught before decides what goes on in a classroom. They choose the programs that we teach and everything else. Teachers need to be able to do their jobs, we went to school to learn what we needed in order to teach children, yet our schools adopt programs created by others and they tell us YOU MUST USE THIS PROGRAM. Programs don't teach children, teachers do. So, please let us do our jobs.

Like many of the previous writers, I love teaching. My students and their parents (or at least 95% of them, anyway) respect me and leave my classes excited about learning, books, and reading (the kids) and with good tools for helping their kids blossom into readers (the parents). As a kindergarten teacher at a private school where the curricular focus is pre-reading, I feel that this is one of my primary goals, along with providing the pre-reading skills necessary to lead into reading (rhyming words, learning names of letters and their sounds, beginning to blend sounds into words, learning some sight words, etc.), which I also do. Along with these concepts, I provide enrichment for the kids in my classes who are already reading, and support for those who are still struggling with the names of the letters in their own names. However, the current administration has a "check off the box" mentality that (mistakenly, I think), believes all qualities of "poor, basic, good, and excellent" teachers can be quantified on a checklist - which has yet to be developed and published, of course. I was not given a contract for the next school year and am being pressured to "resign," as I am "not the kind of teacher they are looking for." (One of the criticisms was that I told kids to put their names on a worksheet before completing it. All worksheets had names on them when turned in. I was told that if I meant the kids to "put their names on the papers sometime in the next 20 minutes," that was what I should have said. The evaluator said that not all papers had names on them when he walked around; the next day I tried an experiment - same type of worksheet, same instructions - I then told the kids to "freeze" and checked for names on the papers. Sure enough, about half did not have their names on the top of the page they were working on. But when questioned, they turned their papers over (they were 2-sided papers) and showed me their names on the other side! Makes it hard to take such criticism too seriously.)
In talking with other teachers from a variety of schools, apparently this desire to quantify all aspects of the classroom experience, from the teachers' performances to the students' abilities to score well on standardized tests, has taken over many if not most of the education systems in this country (or at least in California). Longtime, excellent teachers bemoan the loss of the "extras" like field trips, hands-on learning, and even literature in English classes (it is deemed more important that 8th graders learn how to read technical manuals on operating appliances than that they learn about the joy of reading (and of learning to analyze ideas, God forbid!) by actually reading novels, plays,or even magazine articles). No one seems to have a solution, and the purported causes of the problems are numerous.
As a parent who sometimes found some of my children's teachers lacking in various ways, I am sympathetic to those who feel that teachers need to be held accountable for what they teach. (I was generally one of those who was more concerned about WHAT my kids were learning than HOW it was being taught. Now apparently teachers are even given a daily script and/or schedule to adhere to, which of course ignores the obvious - that different kids learn in different ways and on different time schedules.) As a parent of two kids who did not always do well on standardized tests (unlike the third who often did well on them) I am also well aware of the pitfalls of pigeon-holing someone with a check-off list of "a, b, c, or d" as the sole criterion for judgment.
Just as the teaching of reading has gone through several fads - "skill and drill" to "whole language" to "phonics" to a realization that the best programs include elements of all of these (which the best teachers always knew and managed to do in the privacy of their classrooms before NCLB), it seems that the current assessment frenzy is the (hopefully) extreme pendulum swing in one direction. One can only hope that this pendulum can find a central point to oscillate around sooner and with less damage to kids' learning than happened with the teaching-reading pendulum.
I think it is important to realize that teaching is a process engaged in by living people - both the students and teachers. There needs to be respect for the process, respect for the people involved, and an understanding that there is not a "one size fits all" formula to follow in teaching. What works with one group of kids in any given year will not necessarily work with the next group the following year. There are also differences in what kids need from a teacher to be able to learn most effectively. I really appreciated the article by Jane Ching Fung, "What Mattered Most to Keysha," where she surveyed students in various grade levels about what constituted a good teacher. The responses she got correlated well with comments from our children and their friends over the last 25 years (our youngest is now approaching the last year of high school). (My evaluator was a middle school teacher and I submit that while there are similarities between middle school and kindergarten, there are also necessarily differences in how one teaches in the respective grade levels.)
I liked the ideas in previous posts about teachers forming their own management groups, and running their own schools. I think there is potential in this idea for well-balanced classrooms and schools. I am also aware that such schools can be more complicated to set up than it might appear at first glance. It is good to venture outside of the current box of education though, and this may be a good direction to investigate.

Why do teachers quit? Simple. Crappy parents, crappy adminstration, crappy pay. I love my students dearly and I love teaching. People don't recognize that teaching is a 24/7 job. We are role models, we are nurses, we are parents, we are counselors. We are teachers. At this point I am struggling...do I really want to put myself through the ringer again?

Teachers want to quit teaching because all that has already been listed. I am tired of working so hard to be blamed for lazy, uncaring, students and parents. What is wrong with education? Well, it seems that if changes were made from the TOP down we would see a positive change. Teachers are the ones who are with the children, yet everyone else tells us what to do and how to do it. If educators have not been in the classroom for the past three years, they do not have a clue what it is like. Politics have ruined our educational system. It is no longer what is best for kids; it is what is best for the ones making the big bucks. Superintendents are to blame for failing schools. It is so sad to see the things going on in education today. We teach responsibility, but no one wants to be responsible for mistakes in education. It is always popular to blame the teachers. For the most part, we have excellent teachers across the nation. We know what is best for kids and not the ones getting fat and sitting behind the big desks!

Teachers leave teaching because they are the smart frogs in the proverbial pot being heated on the stove. My 2nd grade students have more nintendo games in their bedrooms (!) than books. They are truly unlike any generation we have seen before. Many have TV's in their rooms that they can turn on any hour of the day or night and access to all kinds of cable TV that is not meant for children. This generation has been left to technological babysitters by parents too frazzled to spend quality time with their youngsters. The lack of respect is just a symptom of a multi-facted problem. Children who have spent most of their lives in daycares look to their peers for 90% of their behavioral cues. The entertainment industry has reflected a world where teenage girls think it's ok to be a "ho". Teachers can make a difference, but not all of them care to.

Teachers quit because they're in the wrong profession. We have a lot of problems in public education, and I believe it's completely broken, but I'm not going to quit. I'm affecting positive change. Teachers who want to quit, should quit and find something that makes them happy.

I wish leaving teaching to find something that makes me happy was as easy as "Mike/HS English Teacher" suggested. I'm not exactly "marketable, given my age (50) and most businesses simply laugh at my degree, since I majored in elementary education. While school districts routinely take persons with degrees in business, claiming they will "train" them, business does not want a person with an education degree.
I AM NOT in the wrong profession. The PROFESSION is WRONG! I'm great at what I do WHEN I get to actually do it.
NCLB and district mandates to meet it interfere with teaching. In my current district mandated prepatory tests arrive before curriculum can be taught, and/or curriculum maps do not include skills necessary to be successful on the tests.
Unruly, disruptive students that are not disciplined because federal dollar allocations are dependent on their school attendance, disrupt teaching. Inclusion, which veteren teachers are NOT routinely or adequately prepared to face, disrupts teaching. Inservices and workshops are just not sufficient preparation.
Frustrated, disenfranchised parents who do not know how to be advocates for their children, and/or are nursing real or imagined slights from their school days and are therefore verbally abusive, uncooperative, and surly interfere with teaching. Cliqueish, domineering, abusive administratiors thwart teaching. School districts that insist that I update my certification by obtaining additional hours of graduate education, ON MY DIME, interfere with teaching.
Greedy, self-serving unions that sell teacher's down the river when renewing contracts, drains energy and hope in teaching.
I worked in business prior to obtaining my degree. Every other employer I ever had reimbursed for education. I wish I'd stuck with that instead of following my dream to become an educator. I'd would have made more money (as an administrative assistant) and would have been near retirement by now, since I reached that career path in my early 20's.
I'd love to leave. I just don't have a way out that would not be financial suicide. Laws against age discrimination are on the books, where they stay. Providing a social security number on an application IS telling your age. There is never a way to prove that you have not been considered for employment due to age. Someone is always simply "more qualified."
I am due compensation for my knowledge, effort and dedication. Telling me to love or leave education is not fair.

Wow! This has been fascinating to read. I hear such defeat mixed with much sticktoitiveness. And I ask myself, "What is the difference between these two schools of thought?"

Different experiences, no doubt. Different generations? Different socioeconomics? ...?

Based on my experience, in no particular order, here are reasons I consider leaving the classroom...
#1 Competition with the indulgent lifestyles of couch potatoes addicted to electronics.
I do believe that teachers must be passionate about what they teach in a way that engages and naturally entertains children. As entertaining, knowledgeable and passionate as I am, I still do not beep, glow or animate. I have a hard time competing with electronics such as the Wi. I had students who were very tired in class one day and I couldn't figure it out. I chalked it up to a full moon or weather coming, like we teachers often do. *smiles* Come to find out, their parents stayed all night with them in a parking lot of a store so that they would be the first to buy the Wi game system when it came out that early morning. Never mind that it was a school night. So, yeah, that chuck of parents had their priorities straight. I felt completely disrespected when I found out the situation. As a professional, why am I expected to put up with such disregard for my time efforts? I think most parents never thought of it that way. And maybe I wouldn't have either, had I not spent so much time in a classroom and so many hours preparing to make that time in the classroom productive and engaging.

This leads me to number 2...

#2 Competing with the lack of respect/support from parents.
Some parents are wonderful, don't get me wrong. But even the wonderful ones often have really missed the boat when it comes to instilling self control, respect and tolerance by way of being role models. Their sense of entitelment is astonishing and their children tend to develop those very same values. I find myself teaching social skills such as flexibility, tolerance and mindfullness most of the day. Kids will hyperfocus on what happened in the hall earlier or what they worry will happen at lunch and while anyone working with kids can try to temper that and offer kids a listening ear and counsel - these days, the social needs seem to way supercede the academic needs. To me, these life skills are way more important than the math or literature I teach. And as the year goes on, these kinds of things are in place in my classroom - but are continually "undone" at home. Day in and day out, I stress a peaceful environment and demand it. So it is a constant struggle to teach them to be people first, so that I can then get to the spelling, grammar, etc. As someone said earlier, they are now getting most of their behavioral cues from their peers and often at a daycare during those precious early years of moral development. I never have understood why two people decide to have a kid and then hand it over for someone else to do the raising. I suppose both parents are "entitled" to have the career that fulfills them and that is certainly more important than preparing their little one for what it takes to function respectfully in school. Please note sarcasm. And again, had I not obtained a degree in early childhood education and worked in daycares, I might have been okay with that choice to fulfill my needs over my child's as well. But I have seen the in's and out's of even the nicest most affluent child development centers. Some good things happen there....but so many things are missed and gone forever that could have happened at home with a mommy or a daddy. Much more meaningful that way.

#3 This may sound silly, but, school lunch. Those packed by parents as well as those provided by a program.
Does anyone else have the program where they serve pancakes drowned in syrup accompanied by processed, factory farmed pork sausage every Wednesday? Well, who wants to work on writing the 5 paragraph essay or social studies after that?? I'd just want to take a nap. But my favorite is the tater tots and chicken nuggets. Would you like some fried food with your fried food? Additives, preservative, refined sugar, genetically modified fruits and vegetables....Dorritos, Gogurts, white bread, capri-sun - NOT HEALTHY parents!! I see kids being poisoned every day and then they are expected to pay attention in my class. 85% of my students are medicated for learning disabilities. (I know, that is a lot isn't it?) Meds don't work too well on such muggy fuel. And so all too often, they up the meds or change them repeatedly which is tough a growing, weight changing little body. Parents (and kids) start to wonder if they'll ever find a med cocktail that works. Sometimes the kids end up feeling unfixable...and then depressed. :(

Society certainly isn't set up for student success. Some administrators can be terrible (I've had both terrible and wonderful). The standardized testing situation is so sad. I understand what they are trying to do and I support their goal. But I am screaming from the trenches down here for help in the following areas:
-Societal changes via parent education (how to raise a child without daycare or a nanny) And I'm not expecting perfect kids here. Some will always have a tough time through school and teachers must be ever sensitive to different backgrounds and needs - but come on, does EVERYONE have stinkin' ADD?? Does anyone have any ideas on how to start that kind of parent movement? Does anyone agree? Would love to hear your thoughts either way.
-A bigger investment in health in order to increase stability in the development of little nervous systems and abilities to focus thereby reducing things like ADD, anxiety, self esteems, motivations and other conditions relating to nervouse system health (organic farming, real foods,etc. and so on) We parents buy the groceries, so we have total control over their choices.
-And then I am sure their needs to be some type of administrator accountability set up - How many teachers did you retain this year principal? Gasp! That's not very many. You didn't make them very happy huh? Let's put you on probation until you can bring up those numbers, sir.
I may be way off. If so, I apologize. Currently, I am far removed from the public school administrator struggles as I am teaching in a private school. But that would be my third and final request from down here in the trenches.

I would really love to hear responses to my experiences and ideas - but I sense some heat here in this thread, so I ask you to please be kind. I'm open to everyone's thoughts. I think we all are.

Just a quick note to ponder:
One of our CTE programs prepares graduates to become child care specialists (baby sitters) upon graduating from high school. In Maryland, it costs between $250 -$350 per week per child for a babysitter. Lets conservatively say teachers watch an average of 20 students per day. If we charged $250 per student per week, our earnings per school year(36 weeks) would be $250 x 20 x 36 = $180,000/year. At $350/per week, we'd make a whopping $252,000/year. In reality, some teachers average more than 25 students a day which could mean $315,000/year in babysitting funds. Hmmmm...Like I said...Just a thought to ponder.


If you want to know why nothing is ever done about disruptive students, just look at the way schools are funded. A principal is often caught between a rock and a hard place. The district loses money whenever a student is absent, suspended, or expelled. This is the real motivation behind those absentee records, make no mistake about it. This is the only reason we now have so many "alternative schools" in place. More $$$$$. We can't get rid of the disruptive students so we'll just create a new school, maybe even build a brand new building and hire loads of new people! We'll make it sound and appear really rough so that kids won't want to go there at first. We'll provide the transportation everyday for two week periods and possibly longer. My honors kids won't get to go on ONE half-day field trip this year but the disruptive students will get three or four 2-week trips per year to the nicer, cleaner, Alternative School and nobody will even bitch about the price of fuel or paying a busdriver overtime.
It's always about money. Do these programs work? It doesn't matter as long as the bureacrat has a job with benefits.
As for NCLB, I doubt that the current situation in our public schools is what George W.'s administration had in mind. If we want to blame someone, we should look no further than our states' departments of education. I sat in on my state's legislature just last spring and the Department of Education created 6 new bureacratic positions (to oversee the A.L.E. programs in the schools)with salaries that totalled over $1 million dollars/per year. These proposals were approved by our state representatives without question, in a matter of mere minutes. How? It isn't hard to convince a room full of well-meaning people (mostly men) that the "children" in their home districts "need" these programs. State education department chairs need not say more than, "children need" and all requests are granted. It makes me sick to think of how many positions have been created in the name of children when the people in those positions will likely never SEE the children they claim to be helping. They'll drive around a few days a week, stop in at the schools, pick up some useless paperclipped stacks of documentation that they probably won't even read. They might speak to the program supervisors in the schools for a few minutes just to get a signature documenting the the visit. This isn't NCLB, this is what state governments are doing with NCLB funds. State Departments of Education were procreating like rabbits long before NCLB. The state is the reason that teachers and administrators have so many forms to fill out for so many different programs and have very little time to run a school or a classroom. In public education, the bureaucrats at the local and state levels have no interest in whether or not a program works because their jobs depend on our perpetual failure. Bureacracy is having a parasitic effect on education and the proof is in the fact that public schools haven't improved over the years while the number of state-mandated programs and oversight positions has multiplied. We need to face the reality that our schools are getting worse and no state-mandated program is going to stop this. I push a cart to three different classrooms because there aren't enough classrooms at my school. It makes me furious as a teacher, a tax-payer, and especially, as a parent.

I also received my teaching degree in my forties, after I raised three children. I have taught grades K-12 over the past six years and, though I love the children, I am horrified by their behavior. The decline in civility and respect for others has made me re-think the profession...and I'm not just referring to the kids. Why is it that teachers must spend countless hours and funds to validate their chosen "discipline" when the students they teach are not required or expected to do the same?

I have been teaching in public schools for 8 years but did not successfully pass the RICA examination to receive my credential after several attempts so I was demoted to become a substitute--which meant a cut in my pay, facing schools that I will never go back to (but would rather live on the streets and collect cans as a source of income), receiving no respect from staff or students and facing teachers that expect you to perform miracles with no motivation as a sub to jump through all the hoops that some teachers expect (like they are doing you a favor by providing a day of work). I am also in graduate school to improve myself but was unable to stay current with bills so I picked up two extra jobs--tutoring and still looking for night work. It is so frustrating to be subjected to the negative connotations that go along with be a "sub." I feel as if teaching is my calling in life but if I continue there will be no literal calls because I will not be able to afford even a phone. I would like one job for the time being until I have passed all my tests, receive my credential and complete master's degree. Anyone out there willing to hire a hard working teacher in Los Angeles?
Please let me know
thanks

some leave thief respective job because of some cruel administrator.

Dear Jenis:

Have you ever considered teaching English overseas? If you have a Bachelors degree (in ANY major) you can earn $4,000 to $6,000 per month in Japan which pays premium salaries for "real" teachers. I'm not a "real" teacher like you. I have never taught in accredited schools because I don't have the credentials. I'm just one of the thousands of expat teachers that teach ESL to foreign students.
In some countries the pay is low but the benefits are fantastic. Exotic locations, free housing, meals, maids, etc. Google away and you'll be surprised what you will find!

Readers, commenters, teachers and ex-teachers, please read-

I've been reading, writing and researching about why teachers quit for the last several years. It all started when I watched one young, energetic, motivated and talented teacher leave the profession for good. No matter how much I mentored her, her model for teaching was not sustainable. The community was devastated to see her go. Then I started researching teacher attrition and conducting interviews with people I knew who left the profession or who were thinking strongly of doing so. Most of the time it is the academics, poiticians and others who are removed from teaching that write books and make comments about teacher attrition. I wanted to get the voices of teachers who are leaving, like those who commented, and thousands of others, who have their own reasons for leaving the classroom. I am writing Why Great Teachers Quit, an in the trenches, real life view of teachers describing their reasons for quitting, along with creative suggestions for ways to change and improve.

I need to hear from teachers from all over the country about why they are leaving teaching. Please visit http://whygreatteachersquit.wordpress.com to answer survey questions, or to write a more open ended response (I promise it is short and relatively painless). You will see two posts with more details about the project. Please be sure to include the grade level, geographic region (general), and subject that you teach in your comments.

Please take a moment to stop by and share your perspective (and please spread the word!). We can only change things by speaking out and working for change.

I left special education and moved to regular education after putting in 12 years of little administrative support from special ed. and regular ed. administrators at the elementary level. I enjoy teaching first grade because most of the students are eager to learn. In special education there is too much politics. The administrators act like "beasts" . They are more
concerned with trying to handle "vocal" special ed. parents than with the needs of the students themselves. The aides are often not trained and the teachers fill many roles that are not appreciated or recognized. Regular education teachers sometimes expect that the special education teachers are supposed to "fix" the special ed. students in the classrooms and have very little training in how to deal with inclusion. There is confusion and long waits for students to be tested and there is much racial prejudice against caucasion teachers, especially by African American parents. When I was a special day class teacher, I was injured many times by students and the lifting requirements. Often, I was doing both my job and an aide's job especially if the aid was untrained or absent. How I lasted 12 years is really a mystery. I never looked back at leaving special ed. although I feel it is a shame that the knowledge that I have gained working with autistic students is not being utilized by the school district.

#1 Parents do NOT support discipline do NOT understand social psychology in the classroom and believe their children can do no wrong.
#2 The American Education System especially high school is run like a camp where the teachers are merely activity directors.
#3 In most other countries students are expected to study hours in school and after school, in this country we are supposed to implant the information in their brains
#4 We are not allowed to grade on behavior or kick out the bad kids from class. No how is that supposed to work?????
#5 Kids are graduated from high school no matter what....
The American Schooling system is a joke and it is not because of the teachers. We live in a culture where education is not valued, kids who like to study are considered "nerds" (a derogatory term) and there is no focus on actual studying.... Kids cannot be expected to do everything, even the good kids try to do everything and then have no time for studying....

I quit because of parents, SOLELY due to their interference in my classroom. I could deal with disruptive students, if their parents did not constantly indulge and verify their negative behavior, right in front of myself and/or the Principle. Parents these days have absolutely NO respect for teachers and I feel they believe we are "underpaid" babysitters. They fail to see that if I state your child is disruptive and that child states "but so and so made me" and that parents ignores their child's actions and wants to blame it on the other child; that their child is learning that if they LIE and blame it on the teacher they can get ahead with their parents. Their parents do not get that THEY are messing up their children's education and are raising a bunch of spoiled, selfish, money centered, bossy, rude and severely violent children!! I had enough of the parental harassment and am going into medical coding.

I posted back in June of 2007. Just happened upon this site again...July, 2008. I quit!! I quit and it feels SOOOOO good! Man, I just can't tell you how relieved I am. Feels like I severed an extra and unwanted limb or something.

I had parents begging at my feet to stay and administration begging with promises of a raise that would be "secret". I let them know that losing my mind, time to take care of my body and loosing energy to take care of my marriage simply was NOT worth the money.

We moved to a smaller community where we could afford for me to not work. I will take care of the house, the errands and home cooking. We will not fall behind or be stressed. We will actually enjoy these years together.

I detailedmy reasons for thinking of quitting and inthe end it came down to two things. #1 a sickeningly corrupt administration who refused to acknowledge how their political decisions affected my daily life in the classroom. And #2 the overly indulged children and how their behaviors and expectations demanded too much time for (family) values lessons. I feel responsible for supporting values, but not being the sole educator on them. I actually had to discipline kids in front of their parents because of their grossly rude behavior - yelling at mom, demanding fast food, tugging on parent's clothing, refusing to leave and so on. The parents made it painfully clear why they behaved the way they did at school.

This also contributed to my feelings about not working. I will not work outside the home and neglect to focus a huge amount of energy teaching my family how to behave respectfully and with an awareness for the world. This kind of thing takes time and cannot be implemented just during dinner and bedtime. It's an all day thing. And if you are rushing off to work in the morning and hurrying to wrap things up at night because you're exhausted - you are not fully invested in teaching and modeling values in order to gift your children with a moral compass.

Oh, I must say, also, that I was the only veterened teacher in the elementary this year. Every single other teacher was new. None of them had guidance this first year and all but one had any idea how to discipline and manage their students. My kids actually asked me one day why only the kids in our homeroom had to follow the rules but no other homerooms did. It was incredibly draining to daily combat the war that was going on right outside my door. What's worse, the teachers and principal all thought everyone was behving just fine. Their standards were so low for respect and responsibility...and their students knew it.

I know I am good at what I do. And half way into the summer, parents are still contacting me, wishing me well and asking for advice and counsel. However, the lack of family values and parenting was too much for this week administration.

For the first time in my life...I am NOT dreading August!!!!

I left an administrative asst. job at a prominent and stable global firm. I felt I was in a dead-end job and wanted to be in a profession where I "made a difference" in the world. Thus I embarked in the process of completing graduate school, credentialing, BTSA/new teacher induction, constant scrutiny, unpaid work hours, and subsidizing school materials/supplies out of my own pocket. In addition, the uncertainty of being employed from year to year due to declining enrollment and budget shortfalls. While I feel validated when students learn and understand the importance of becoming empowered through education, the days and months drag on with unsupportive parents who blame teachers for their lack of control of their children. If children don't respect parents, why does anyone think they'll respect teachers or police? These values have eroded in our culture and they cross ethnic and socioeconomic lines. I've heard the same from colleagues in affluent districts where parents view teachers as staff under their tax payroll. At this point, I'm praying for strength to embark on my third year, but I learned from my corporate background that having a strategy or plan B is necessary in life. If I am still employed under temp contracts by year 5, then I am prepared to sadly leave the profession. Between now and then I'll be working on an MBA in healthcare as plan B.

I am working toward a more advanced degree so that I can move into the Jr. College system. I am frustrated because my subject is treated more like the internal babysitting service for the problem kids, rather than a subject worthy of study. "what do we do with Johnny, he hits everyone?" Ah, lets put him in art so he doesn't disrupt an important class. I am expected to manage, stock and maintain supplies and equipment that the kids are intent on throwing away or destroying. I am given 40-45 kids in each class, for not 5 but 6 periods a day, not enough supplies for nearly 300 kids. Teaching and grading, working one on one when I can, it is not the job I was hoping for when in went into $100,000 worth of debt to get my BA, my MA and a teaching credential that took an additional two years... At least in Jr. College the kids have to buy their own supplies and I don't have to try to hand it all out and get it all back in an hour.

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