Friday, July 29, 2011

Looking for a Teaching Job? Think hard (and twice) about it!

“Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty.” -- Albert Einstein

I have enjoyed -- most of the time -- being a teacher of some kind or another for 45 years. But I have met many, many people who have not enjoyed being a teacher. Some have hated it but struggled on for no reason that was beneficial to their students.

Teaching as a profession has one of the highest drop-out rates in the United States: 12-13 percent per year. If you are a new to the profession, the probability is that you will not be a teacher after three years. The main reason given by public school teacher drop-outs for leaving is not salary. It is for lack of administrative or parental support.

If you consider that there are three main types of school in the US, private, parochial and public, each type has its own unique blend of problems. Money tends to be tight almost everywhere. Private and parochial schools can maintain social barriers in a way that is illegal for public schools. Academics, which receive mostly lip service, are maintained -- even in public schools -- by carefully selecting students who are subjected to difficult curriculum.

If you’re going into teaching only because you love children, forget it! You’ll end up in twenty years or so being a monster out of frustration that real kids are not what you -- or your professors -- imagined them to be. Or out of frustration that your job depends upon your keeping happy people who care little for kids and know even less what makes them really tick. Or out of frustration at the wide gap that exists between what is preached and what is practiced in schools.

If you are interested in pursuing this further, see
“Cannonfodder: Preparing Teachers for Public Schools”

-- EGR

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