I have been a teacher for nine years and I am GOOD at it. Teaching was my dream job ever since I was in middle school. My students love me, my ensembles (I’m an orchestra teacher) are some of the best in the county (huge county of 15+ high schools), and I always receive good reports by my administrators.
And I want out… SO bad! The amount of classes I have to teach and the number of students in those classes goes up every year. Administration will pour on praise all day, but then you ask for something like NOT 80 students in one class (why not 40 and 40?) and they shoot you down without a second thought. More and more work and expectations are piled on every year and the pay compared to cost of living gets more skewed as well.
The amount of time and effort it takes to meet every goal, go to every meeting, meet every deadline, etc. is IMPOSSIBLE if you want to have a home life at all. Every teacher I know now-a-days cuts corners wherever possible because the demands on us are simply ridiculous.
Another reason why I want out is the simple fact that high school (what I currently teach, though I’ve done elementary and middle school before), does not prepare students for life. It pushes classes that are meaningless (when’s the last time you used calculus or chemestry unless your job is specifically in that subject?) and cuts and forces kids out of classes where they grow as people like music, home economics, art, shop, photogrophy, foreign languages, theater, etc. The classes they push do nothing for these students other than stimulate the brain… but their brains could be stimulated in USEFUL ways like learning coding, accounting, website building, etc.
The last reason I do not want to be a teacher any more is because we have ZERO power any more. I had an incident where I caught a student wearing a cast to my class so she didn’t have to play her instrument for months after she didn’t need it any more. I called her mother. Because she was mad at me, the girl made up a lie that I had touched her in an inappropriate way and her mother called the school and county. I was not ALLOWED to set foot on county property for two days. I was summoned infront of a committee with human resources who talked to and treated me like a pedofile. It was the most humiliating and demeaning experience of my life. They dismissed the case, but NOTHING happened to the girl. I still had to see her in the hallways after she BRAGGED about almost getting me fired.
We also have no power because parents, in their anti-intellectualism bubbles, assume their precious, perfect child is never wrong. I call a parent about something mindblowingly horrible their kid did and they tell me that 1. the punishment is too harsh and/or 2. they’re calling my superiors about me.
All of this is COMPLETELY beside the fact that we are professionals with degrees and make around half what other degree required careers annually make. I shouldn’t be in a place where I work five days a week, 12+ hours a day (after grading, afterschool meetings, and planning happens) and I can not purchase a new car or have children because I don’t make enough money. And don’t say, “You get off during the summer.” Just because you get a breather for two months doesn’t make doing a headstand in 3 feet of human excrement for ten months any better.