Almost half of teachers are thinking about leaving their jobs. Where does that leave America?
I just read this article in Forbes and it made me wonder what the numbers are in Norway. There were a disappointingly low number of students who signed up for teacher education this fall, it could be an indication that we need to value our teachers in Norway too. These days the Teacher Union in Norway is working on better conditions for teachers who step in and sub teach for colleagues who have covid, are in quarantine, or are absent for other reasons. They are suggesting a 200 % overtime rate as a new norm in 2022. That would certainly help the situation. Because if most people think it doesn’t matter who looks after the class when the teacher is sick, then we are in trouble. One of the points in the article I think is really important is the expectation that teachers “catch students up”. It seems so easy when you say it, but what does it really mean? That learning can be crammed into a shorter time frame just like that?
Don’t expect teachers to “catch students up.” The Covid learning slide is a real and serious problem. But somehow, there has been an expectation that returning to in-person learning would magically solve all of it and bring students right back to their appropriate mastery levels. This puts incredible, even impossible pressure on teachers who are already overburdened with ever-changing policies and demands. Instead, as a nation we need to be realistic about where students are really at—and meet them there. That’s the only way we’re going to move them forward.
Here are some extracts from the article that you can read here.
We’re at a major tipping point in education. According to a recent survey, 48% of teachers admitted that they had considered quitting within the last 30 days. Of that number, 34% said they were thinking about leaving the profession entirely.
Teachers and administrators alike are stressed, overworked and at the end of their rope. After the tremendous pressures of the past two years, they have nothing more to give. They are already giving everything—time, energy, mental wellbeing, and heart. They’re beyond tired. They’re exhausted. Conditions in the education field have always trended toward demanding, but today they’re a recipe for burnout—which teachers experience almost twice as much as other government employees.
At the same time, teachers are very hard to replace. The specialization and requirements inherent to the field of education make it extremely difficult to expand the talent pool, as other fields are often able to do.