Dear Granddaddy, I’m seeing teachers drop like flies. We can’t seem to keep young teachers, and we can’t seem to get new ones fast enough to fill the holes. Sean D- a concerned educator.
It’s scary when I talk to young people and most of them say that there is no way that they would become a teacher. “The pay is crap and you get treated terrible,” is what I hear. It saddens me, and I’m concerned for the future of education, too, Sean.
The research shows that teachers who last are between ages 39 and 55, married, and have children older than five. They have full-time assignments, are highly qualified, and have competitive salaries. Unfortunately, these ideal teachers are a very small demographic. We should all be concerned.
Society needs to support teachers. And when it comes to our youngest teachers, we need to give them reasonable teaching assignments and not bury them under a mountain of work or burden them with too many difficult students. We need a more effective induction process to better acclimate new teachers to their environment. We need to include on-going mentorship and build their network of collegial contacts beyond just their mentor.
Feeling safe and respected as a professional is essential. When teachers endure physical harm or verbal abuse, they leave. It’s sad that we even have to talk about this, but teachers are being physically harmed and verbally/emotionally abused every day, and there isn’t enough being done about it. Furthermore, our society needs to respect the profession as it once did and stop being fooled by people with agendas who are trying to demonize teachers for their own benefit.
Sean, we’re older, and we won’t be around for that much longer. We don’t have a lot of control over what happens in the world outside of our four classroom walls, but, what we can do is make sure that we create a human connection with our young teachers. Only then will they might have some kind of fighting chance of hanging in there and lasting in this very tough and underappreciated profession.
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Dan Blanchard is an award-winning author, speaker, and educator who has appeared on over 100 television and radio shows. To find out more about Dan or to submit a question to him, please visit him on his website at: www.GranddaddysSecrets.com.