NASCAR February 23
 

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New Teachers

Teacher Burnout

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Isabella Hoang Isabella Hoang 30 Points

Teachers in U.S. have a huge burnout rate. Around 40-50% of teachers in their first five years will leave the teaching profession. The highest rates of burnout come from the fields of math, science, foreign languages, and special education. Furthermore, the U.S. is lagging behind its counter peers in other countries in terms of academic achievement. There is both a teacher shortage and a subpar performance from U.S. students (on a global scale) as a whole. What can we do as a country to better support our teachers in ways such as development to help decrease the teacher shortage and burnout rate? What area should we focus on to help decrease this quitting rate: salary, development/preparation, other? 

Harry Mazurek Harry Mazurek 70 Points

Researched answers come from the US Dept Ed ERIC Educational Resource Information Center https://eric.ed.gov/?q=teacher+burnout&ff1=locUnited+States

Pamela Dupre Pamela Dupre 92364 Points

Isabella, I can only address what I see happening in the schools in my district. Our students are being subjected to 'important' tests mandated by our district 3 times a year, on top of state mandated tests. Teachers are evaluated informally twice a year with a snapshot that is done by a quick 15 minute observation and then two formal evaluations using only a small portion of the Danielson Rubric. Oddly enough, none of those teacher evaluations are weighted enough to help balance the SLT or Student Learning Target. The teachers must show that students have grown a certain percentage from the beginning of the year district assessment to the end of the year district assessment. Let's just say that a teacher scores highly effective on the observations, but her students do not show enought growth on the district assessments. The teacher then may have to go through intensive training with the goal of improving student scores next year. Let's add Vam (value added model) to the mix. Those scores come from the state mandated test we just recently completed. However, those scores won't be in until late June or maybe July. The teacher will be called to come to school during the summer to learn if the score of their effectiveness. This is one of the number one stressors for teachers.

Now we can add in all of the grade level meetings, professional learning community meetings, faculty meetings, club meetings, various planning meetings for school events, and so on. 

I'm not even sure of what order to rank many of the other demands on teachers' time like discipline, lack of materials, lack of prep time, lack of content knowledge (especially when there are a variety of changes each year to the curriculum,) lack of discipline, lack of respect from parents. 

I'm not ever shocked when teachers leave the profession. I am always amazed when the excellent teachers remain. I help mentor teachers new to our school and brand new teachers just starting out. I remind them to leave at a decent time because the work will still be there tomorrow. When I find a spare minute I offer to run off papers for them, share teaching tips, bring them water, and slip little notes in their mailbox to inspire them or make them laugh. We need supportive relationships between teachers if we want to do the most we can for our students. We share issues we are having during PLC's and someone always offers a different solution to try. 

Salary is a sore spot for many of us when our health insurance costs more than our house note. The reason most of us stay is because we had a teacher that made a difference for us and we are just optimistic enough to think that we can do the same for the children we are entrusted with. 

Claire Sanchez Claire Sanchez 180 Points

Hello Isabella.  I am an education major at the University of Arkansas, and many of my professors have spoken on this topic.  I think  there are two main things that can decrease teacher burnout rate, and both have to do with teacher preparation and professional development.

First, I have found that many teachers end up in a classroom with an unrealistic picture of what it is going to be like.  Many new teachers are not fully prepared to walk into the first day of class with a complete classroom management system to prevent unwanted student behaviors.  Then, as student behaviors become more taxing on teachers as the year progresses eventually the teacher becomes burnt out.  I believe that all institutions and teacher licensure programs should ensure that teachers have strong classroom management skills and provide several chances for professional development in this area.  Implementing programs in high schools that allow high school students to vist other school classrooms and job shadow teachers could give future college students first hand experience early on of what being a teacher actually looks like.  High school students that job shadow teachers would be exposed to many different styles of classroom management that they could incorporate in their own classroom if they decide teaching is the correct career path for them.    

Second, I have heard that part of teacher prepatation should include ways to find adequate rest outside of the classroom.  I believe that few licensure programs and institutions teach educators what they will need as a whole person in order to be an effective educator.  My professors are constantly harping on how teachers must schedule 1 thing a day for them to do that they enjoy and that has nothing to do with students or the classroom.  For example, many of my colleagues enjoy working out or playing sports.  Therefore, my professors expect that after my colleagues graduate they will continue to play sports or work out every day for an hour before or after school.  This practice allows teachers to keep their fervor and passion inside the classroom and keeps teachers mentally healthy.   

 

Ruth Hutson Ruth Hutson 63815 Points

Hi Isabella, 

You bring up a huge problem. In my opinion, before we can change the problem nationally, we need to focus on the local level.  Very often we have more control to exact change in our own district and keep good teachers in the field. If we can retain the teachers we have, then it is a good start.  

First, teachers need to feel supported by the people around them. Building meaningful work friendships is a start. As a district staff, we can do this by pairing teachers that are new to the field with mentors that guide them in their district's policies, help with classroom management, and brainstorm innovative lessons.  I've been at my current position for nine years and I still talk with my mentor teacher. She has since retired, but we developed a friendship that went beyond the classroom.  I also mentored teachers and used my mentor teacher's model to help my mentees.

Parents and teachers need to work as a team to help their students become the best they can. Open lines of communication need to be developed between both parties. Many times this needs to be initiated by the teacher. In my classes, I start the year off by introducing myself to parents and letting them know we are on the same team. I go out of my way to find good things that students are doing and let parents know. That way if I have to discipline their student or if their student is having difficulty learning certain material, we already have good rapport established. With parents on my side, it eliminates a lot of stress.  

The community needs to support the school by looking for ways to partner with it. Again, many times this needs to be initiated by the school. However, businesses, churches, and civic organizations are all looking for ways to support education and educators. They just need to be asked. 

Teachers need to be kind to themselves. One doesn't have to have a Pinterest worthy class in order for students to learn and feel important. My classroom is stark by some standards, but my students know I care about them and I always have something for them to do everyday.  I try very hard to make their learning relevant to their lives. I also ask for help. When I start feeling overwhelmed I go to my parents and community contacts and ask for their help. 

Teachers need time to conquer the massive amounts of paperwork we have. Boards of Education and Adminstration can help in this need by allowing teachers work days and meaningful curriculum planning days. Teacher negotiating groups can request these when they negotiate their new contract, but boards need to be open to these needs and treat teachers like the professionals they are. 

All of us, both educators and the general public, need to let our legislators know that it is important to properly fund public education. We need to elect public officials that see education as a priority.  Then schools will receive more funding and they can in turn invest that money in increase wages and providing adequate supplies.  

With these in place, education will be an attractive career choice. We will be able to recruit our high schoolers to choose education as a viable career. It sounds easy on paper, but it is a daunting task. 

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