From poor pay to a lack of support from parents and administrators, educators reveal the harsh realities of being a teacher.
Being a teacher can be a very difficult career in today's world. The job can be very demanding but prevents many individuals from being able to pay their bills. Teachers also have to cater to the demands of each student as everybody has their strengths and weaknesses. In such harsh conditions, many teachers are quitting their jobs to look for better pay or to change careers altogether. Reddit user u/BelleStar30 asked the community what the primary reason was for so many teachers calling it quits. Here are the 10 most insightful answers that individuals had to offer.
For me, it’s that it’s become a customer service business. Parents are the customers and they are always right according to the admin. We aren’t teaching anymore or trusted to be the experts we went to school to become. Kids do whatever they want whenever they want and we keep changing “the rules” so every kid passes and can behave however they want. We aren’t taken care of physically or emotionally. We are abused and the admin doesn’t care as long as the parent is happy. Maybe in a different field, I’d be okay with it but I’m not paid enough and I went to school for too many years to be treated like a butler or servant to these families. u/tealmeetsgray2
Poor pay, lack of funding, antiquated buildings and technology. The administration is afraid of getting sued so no discipline for students. Pandering to parents. Passing failing students every year. u/Nervous_Hippo8855. I teach at a 6-12 school and the 8th graders go around telling the 6th and 7th graders that it doesn't matter if you get straight F's, you'll be passed on to high school. The only consequence is that you don't get to walk the stage for the 8th-grade graduation ceremony, which isn't a real diploma anyway. u/Suspicious-Spinach30
Parents, not parenting. u/hfmyo1. Honestly, I blame selfishness and social media. Every year, I would do a writing exercise where I’d ask the kids if they could get rid of one thing from their home with no consequence, what would it be? And the overwhelming response was their parents’ cell phones because they are constantly on them and pay no attention to them. They don’t care about parenting or reality; just their online lives. It’s sad. I’ve been doing this for 12 years and I can definitively say, from my experiences, that it all comes down to parenting. What it was like when I started teaching is nothing like it is now. u/Lily_d_425
I made a career change and regret it. This is my first, and hopefully last year. I knew my first year was going to be hard but I had NO IDEA it’d be this hard. The workload is a lot. Yea, I know it’ll get easier with time but I’m so turned off. The behaviors (I teach third grade) are hard to deal with day in and day out. It also doesn’t help that they gave me one of the grade’s worst students (not exaggerating…wish I was lying). Yeah, summers off sound great but I’ll be spending it recovering from working over 60 hours a week and barely getting any sleep because I’m stressed. I’ll take a job where I take a scheduled vacation and can take off WHENEVER I want or need to ANYDAY over teaching. I now understand why people leave and will gladly join that statistic. u/Global-Anywhere-648
It’s both. Students are awful and there’s rare support from home. They don’t care. They’re obsessed with their phones/TikTok/Snapchat and nothing else matters. Parents are basically the same. I have parents that I call at 2 p.m. and they get mad at me for “waking them up” and don’t care about their child’s behavior/performance. As for admin. We had an active shooter threat today that made waves through social media. Over 75% of students were absent. The rest, who came in, were distraught. We were told to proceed as usual (even though students could not focus, classes were down to like 4-8 students; which meant we’d have to reteach anyways) and were told admin would be coming through. I had alternative assignments in place for the students but getting the email that admin was basically trying to “get us” in the middle of a traumatic scenario was just the worst. A teacher even told me she had admin in for an observation and she had trouble securing the students’ attention because they could only think/talk about the threat. And I’m in an area with a huge teacher shortage. u/Lily_d_425
At my school our admin is amazing. They back the teachers 99% of the time, they are responsive, hold students accountable, and are realistic with their expectations of us. It is the student's behavior which is chalked up to poor parenting. When teachers, counselors, and admin are doing more to parent 16-year-olds than their own parents ever have, you know it’s f***** up. I have juniors who still don’t know how to read, throw s*** around my room, yell, have random outbursts, pick fights with everybody…and when I call home, send emails, send letters - CRICKETS. They do not give a f***. They have no interest in their kids' education, likes/interests, or development as human beings, they do not care. The ones who do answer me ask ME what I would do to punish/correct/raise their kid. ME??? I’m 25 with no kids, do not ask me for parenting advice. I love teaching, but I hate playing the role of mom, counselor, maid, punching bag, and cop. I just want to tell them to “raise your kids so I can do my damn job”. u/Alternative_Isopod60
Many kids are more apathetic and cynical than when I started teaching. I also noticed having taught art for 19 years at a middle school that attention spans have decreased in many students. Dexterity and fine motor skills have diminished. This is due to the fact that kids are not required to do as many hand-written essays. Or even practice penmanship and cursive writing. This translates to a poor ability to draw or paint. Lastly, Covid caused a lot more desire to get maximum reward with minimum effort. These are typical teen traits already, but they have become more widespread and common. u/ensenadorjones42
Education has stopped preparing kids for the real world. The focus is now on being better than others (district vs district, state vs state, US vs other countries). So instead of real-world lessons like what to do if you fail, how to problem solve, or communication skills, we are focused on fudging test scores, pushing kids through classes and handing out a million trophies. No educator shares that philosophy. We teach because we want to help kids be successful in the real world. When we can't do that, we leave. u/byvs2013
Because there are decades of toxic work culture that's extremely hard to undo. Teachers don't like any professional development and are very jaded after having their time wasted over and over again. Teachers are pressured to work extra duties that they're both under and overqualified for (managing behaviors from kids who experience trauma, supervising recess, etc.) Teachers are pressured to provide free labor and will often get the boot if they don't play by the rules. Teachers are pressured to work outside contract hours and will often face retaliation if they don't. A lot of newer teachers are very passionate about the content they are experts in. But they also forget that they're working with humans that are first and foremost, learning how to be functioning members of society. If you want to work in this profession, understand that you are preparing young folks for the real world. The content you're teaching is a tool to teach them real-life skills such as problem-solving, collaboration, organization, etc. u/That_Dot420
People not playing their positions. Parents, not parenting. Admin not disciplining students, but attempting to micromanage and discipline teachers instead of supporting them. Department chairs not being the go-betweens they’re supposed to be (between teachers and admin) as team leaders and players, but behaving based on self-interest and “hogging the ball.” Teachers behave in a reactionary way to this phenomenon by often overplaying their own positions, jealousy and cliquishly guarding their own perceived territory, be it their classroom, a sport or activity they coach, their time at the photocopier, etc., further creating a toxic environment instead of trust. u/Classic-Effect-7972