- High Stakes Testing
- Teacher-Student Ratio
- Unrealistic Expectations
Teachers make up a large percentage of the workforce in America, yet many of them have been leaving the profession. While it’s true that many teachers leave the job within the first five years, veteran educators are also departing. Here are a few reasons why a teacher shortage is real in 2019.
More requirements among educators like excess paperwork, a seemingly endless amount of meetings, and a packed schedule can make the job stressful. Teachers who also work in underperforming schools often deal with challenging emotional issues of children. Teaching requires an individual always to come prepared or face the consequences of a challenging day. The art of combining the ability to teach young minds the needed material with keeping their engagement for an entire day is demanding. Educators often take more work home after working a full day, which can create burnout over time.
High Stakes Testing
Since the inception of No Child Left Behind, schools have been under pressure to perform with more rigorous testing. While this concept has made sense to many, it has created a wave of controversy in the education world. Teachers have felt the need to “teach to the test.” This situation has limited teacher creativity and has made some schools feel micromanaged. In recent years, teacher pay has also been attributed to student performance on standardized tests. Many educators around the country have found issues with using test scores to determine a child’s ability to learn.
Teaching a class full of 10 or 15 students is hardly the case in any K-12 classroom. Lowering the ratio might be able to help students become more engaged with their teacher. According to Forbes, up to 40 percent of students lack motivation inside a school. With some high school classes approaching 40 students or more, it can become more difficult for any teacher to connect with these students on a deeper level. This situation has been an ongoing problem that has yet to be resolved.
The reasons for a teacher shortage can be linked to the impossible expectations that a teacher faces daily. Inside a classroom, a teacher will be responsible for students of a wide range of academic and behavioral challenges. As mentioned earlier, teacher effectiveness is determined with test scores. Trying to move an entire class of needy students to grade-level expectations can seem impossible. Educators also cite a lack of administrator support for why they can’t perform their duties efficiently. Leaders of their school often have their hands tied either because of strict regulations from the state or inadequate funding.
Many individuals view teaching as one of the most important careers, yet the salary hasn’t proven it. Although the cost of living has consistently increased over the years, teacher pay hasn’t. Many states, like Oklahoma and West Virginia for example, have had thousands of teachers leave the field because of poor pay. Individuals who have left the profession have reported making more income in another job that requires less commitment outside the workday hours.
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The teacher shortage is a major concern in the country. Finding qualified educators who are ready to serve our young minds will become harder than ever if changes don’t happen in the near future.