While most people have decided to become part of the problem, teachers have chosen to be part of the solution;
While most people question “Why?” teachers have dared to ask “Why Not?”;
If you’re an eternal optimist like I am, then you too probably believe that students are gifts to us, and we are gifts to them. But if this is true, then why are so many gifts being returned and exchanged for less valuable ones? Allow me to explain.
In my state (of Florida) alone, it’s been projected that we will need to hire more than 168,000 teachers over the next 10 years. Why? Because more than 48% of the new teachers hired will quit the profession (i. e. , return their gifts for a refund) within the first three years. Likewise, 63% of the new teachers hired will change schools (i. e. , exchange their gifts) within the same time frame. This doesn’t even take into account the number of teachers who are retiring (their gifts) each year after decades of faithful service.
The major question being asked today is:
“Why are so many teachers quitting (asking for refunds)?”
Most have agreed (based on surveys and exit interviews) that the most common reasons teachers give for leaving the profession are:
1. Lack of support (they feel isolated and disconnected)
2. Student behavior (they can’t handle “bad” students)
3. Being overwhelmed (expected to do too much with very little)
4. Legislative and administrative bureaucracy (too much pressure, not enough empathy).
As an educator over the past decade, I can relate to all of the previously mentioned problems and pressures that precipitate many teachers rushing to the “gift exchange” counter (for an early departure). I believe all teachers can relate. However, in light of these reasons, another question must also be asked:
“Why do so many teachers, who work under similar conditions, decide to stay and succeed in spite of their circumstances?”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that if you ask a better question, you will get a better answer. In conducting hundreds of interviews with some of America’s top teachers across the country, the most common responses teachers have given me when asked, “Why do you stay?” were:
1. A desire to make a difference.
2. A belief in the potential of their students.
3. The personal joy and satisfaction of teaching.
I must confess that the reasons listed above did not come as a surprise to me; they reflected my own. But I’ve always been fascinated how “ordinary” teachers are able to succeed in spite of extraordinary odds. I’m talking about ordinary teachers who were able to take what God has given them (i. e. , their gift), as well as their circumstances (i. e. , the wrapping paper), and use it to impact the lives of students.
Dr. Joe Martin is an award-winning speaker, author, professor, and educational consultant and owner of New Teacher Success. Visit New Teacher Resource today!