Steve Nelson: The Teaching Profession in Crisis
On his substack “First Do No Harm,” Nelson lays out the crisis in the teaching profession that America now faces.
As we near the return to pre-pandemic “normal,” the full extent of the damage is emerging. Amidst the wreckage, America’s bruised and battered teachers are still standing – barely.
It has been infuriating to watch the scorn or indifference directed toward teachers. They, and teachers unions, have been blamed for failing to open schools or for the suboptimal online programs that have replaced real learning. All of this compounds the already dismal circumstances under which teachers have persevered for decades.
A few facts:
- Teachers earn 21.4% less than comparably educated peers.
- Teacher pay has declined 4.5% in real dollars over the past decade.
- 20% of teachers work a second job.
- Teachers use, on average, $500 of their money each year to buy supplies for students.
- The average workday for teachers is 12-16 hours per day.
- 55% of teachers wouldn’t want their own children to enter the profession.
- One poll showed that 62% of teachers were considering leaving the profession.
Teacher shortages were severe before the pandemic and will soon be catastrophic.
Since the destructive advent of the “standards and accountability” era, the intrinsic rewards of teaching have steadily eroded. It is little wonder that these good people are finally giving up.
The US has been having trouble convincing people to join–and stay in–the teaching profession for at least a decade. The treatment of the profession during the pandemic is certainly not going to help. You can read the rest of this post here.