The life of a schoolteacher isn’t easy. In fact, being a teacher might be the most stressful job in the world.
According to a new survey from the American Federation of Teachers, today’s instructors across the nation are increasingly stressed out. Most of their concerns surround topics like unfunded mandates, like the Common Core curriculum standards, high-stakes achievement tests and the difficulty of pleasing both school administrators and parents.
“We ask teachers to be a combination of Albert Einstein, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Randi Weingarten, president of AFT, in an interview with Yahoo! news. “We ask them to be mom and dad and impart tough love but also be a shoulder to lean on. And when they don’t do these things, we blame them for not being saviors of the world.”
The survey, which asked 30,000 teachers across the United States how they felt about their jobs, found that 87 percent of teachers said the demands of teaching sometimes interfere with their family life. Similarly, 78 percent of teachers admitted they are physically and emotionally exhausted at the end of each school day.
Interestingly, 89 percent of teachers said they were very enthusiastic about teaching when they started their careers, but only 15 percent said they felt the same enthusiasm today.
Teachers have lost their enthusiasm partly because of district and Department of Education officials making education policy reform laws, according to a Yahoo! article written by Marla Kilfoyle, a Long Island, New York, teacher.
“They don’t have a clue how classrooms are really run,” she said. “Education policy is not being written for kids. It’s being written for education product vendors, products and services. That has to stop.”
But some enthusiasm still lingers. Despite the difficulties of trying to please everyone, and dealing with new policies, the majority of schoolteachers say they’re not ready to get out of the classroom just yet.
In fact, the AFT survey found that 60 percent of teachers say they don’t want to leave the profession within the coming year, and more than half said they enjoy positive relationships with other teachers and school managers.
“Even with all of this, teachers were saying, ‘I don’t want to give up on my kids, I want to stay in this profession,’’ said Weingarten. “And they’re telling us they want the tools, time and trust they need to do their jobs.”
Although AFT recognizes that their survey isn’t scientific research, they say they plan to call on the Department of Education to conduct a scientific study in light of their findings.
“My hope is that at the federal level, the Education Department and the Legislature take this very, very seriously,” Kilfoyle said.
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