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Teachers: A Valuable Resource! (A Note to School Leaders)


Teachers play a critical role in society, preparing young people to become successful and productive citizens. Yet, nearly half of all public school teachers will leave the profession within five years and two-thirds of them would not recommend going into teaching as a profession.


In a recent Georgia Department of Education survey, 53,000 educators were asked to share their views on why so many teachers were leaving the profession. In order of concern, they cited the following reasons:

  1. An overemphasis on testing

  2. Unfair and overburdening teacher evaluation methods

  3. Level of teacher participation in the decision making process

  4. Lack of support by administrators

  5. Non-teaching/school duties

  6. Level of benefits/compensation

  7. Level of ongoing support, resources and professional learning

  8. School & District Leaders


For too long, teachers across the United States have been asked to do more with less. Emphasis on testing, rigorous performance measures, and stern consequences for failure have left little time for teachers to do what they are trained to do, teach. Class sizes have grown larger while teaching loads have increased. Tight school budgets have led to decreased planning time, eliminated textbook adoptions, and reduced benefits. The result is an environment that fosters low morale and excessive stress levels. It is no wonder teachers leave for other work opportunities. What policy makers and some school leaders fail to realize is that teachers are human beings and must be happy and healthy to perform well.

Teachers are not machines that can function twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. They are not supermen or superwomen. It does not mean they are bad teachers if they they care for their marriage or family before the school they serve. Teaching is an honorable profession full of selfless individuals. They know the classroom is a like a battlefield, illiteracy is the enemy, and teachers are the ground troops. However, to fight effectively, troops must be ready and equipped for battle. Supply lines must be in place and communication must flow openly up and down the chain of command.

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Implementation of most, if not all, school reform efforts rests in the hands of the classroom teacher. For this reason, policy makers and school leaders who want to impact education must consider the needs and views of the educator and do what is Best For Teachers. It is in the best interest of the student to have a happy, healthy, well equipped, well informed teacher.







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