As a high-school teacher in the West Island, I read with great interest the Feb. 2 Gazette article by Janet Bagnall on why teachers are leaving the profession (“Study why teachers are leaving field: experts”).
Having attained the benchmark of five years of teaching experience, I admit to occasionally contemplating leaving the field myself. Don’t get me wrong — I love being a teacher. In the past five years, I have been fortunate to have had the privilege of teaching some good classes, with the majority of students fairly well-behaved and receptive to learning. Under these circumstances teaching is a dream job: I can’t wait to create and implement interesting lesson plans. What will students’ reactions be? How will I need to tweak this lesson for other classes?
But I’m a realist, too: I have been teaching long enough to know that reality is not a classroom like the ones seen on television where students always raise their hands to ask or answer questions, where there is no talking out of turn, or where the room is so silent when the teacher is talking that you can hear a pin drop.
As a non-permanent or contract teacher, I have also had my share of positions where working conditions were far from ideal. For example, I have taught classes classified as “regular,” which are supposed to include mainly students whose behaviour falls within the normal range. In fact, sometimes these classes have included not only students who are coded (students with diagnosed conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism and academic or behavioural problems), but also a good number of students with undiagnosed disorders. Under these trying conditions, teaching in the normal sense of the word becomes almost impossible, with constant noise, disruption and chaos. Moreover, classes such as these are also relatively large. These vexing conditions can and often do lead to a teacher’s deep sense of frustration, hopelessness and even burnout.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor from
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The White House has released a new report that finds that the loss of teachers and other education staff is forcing communities into difficult choices that harm our children’s education and future, including increasing class sizes and shortening school years and days. The report shows that more than 300,000 local education jobs have been lost … Continue reading »
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