I respect teachers They are outwardly patient while they may be overworked under the weight of an oppressive hand. They may want to quit but actually like the children in their schools. But they don't quit.
The similarity ends there. Teachers are professionals but are often not treated as such.
- Reality - Teacher education does not adequately prepare new teachers for the plethora of paperwork, parent calls and standardised testing.
- Lack of Respect - Many societies undervalue teachers. I have even encountered some people who consider them the equivalent of housekeepers.
- Paperwork - Documenting everything so the administration and everyone above can "CYA" (Look it up - it's the first term when you Google it)
- Environment - Support is meaningless at best, judgmental at worst. Bullying is pervasive.
- Job insecurity - Evaluation processes are opaque so why live with the stress.
Of those who stay on, according to a poll conducted by the NEA, 45% of them have considered quitting because of the recent love affair with high-stakes standardised testing imposed from above. Is this also a form of lack of respect for teachers as professionals?
A good start is to look at a country where students are succeeding, stress is minimal and teachers' lives seem more balanced: Finland.
- The education and training of teachers and
- The status accorded to educators.
- A Masters Degree plus
- 60 ECTS of teachers' pedagogical studies and
- 60 ECTS credits (35 study weeks) in a subject that is taught in comprehensive schools
- "at least 120 ECTS credits in one teaching subject that is taught in the upper secondary school and at least 60 credits in other possible teaching subjects".
The process of becoming a teacher lasts about six years, people stay in the profession for 40 years, and the average experience of a teacher is about 16 years (Source: Finnish Lessons 2.0).
Students strive to become teachers. Finnish society is not a place where, in the words of Woody Allen "those who can't do, teach, and those who can't teach, teach PE". Teachers in Finland are professionals and are treated as such.
- Improve teacher training dramatically. Longer, more arduous training but with compensation as professionals in the end.
- Improve teacher autonomy. Fewer standardised tests and more in-class assessments that assess learning on an ongoing basis so teaching can be adjusted accordingly.
- Teacher development as opposed to teacher evaluation which can be outrageously subjective. Teachers are professionals and need to be treated as such.
- Stop cultures of bullying; ending top-down subjective evaluations is a good first step, increasing job security and satisfaction.
A good teacher is like a good doctor. You should trust your doctor's judgment. You should trust your teacher's judgment.
Both are professionals and have much more education and training than a maid.