TO TEACH OR NOT TO TEACH – A PERSPECTIVE
In a recent article about happiness at work, Harvard professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter says,
“The happiest people I know are dedicated to dealing with the most difficult problems.”
When I worked as an Arts & Craft teacher in the year 1997, I was less interested in wanting to become a certain type of teacher and more interested in showing the students their worth and value. I believe that the true purpose of a teacher is to prepare students for the professional, career-oriented world which they will eventually step into.
Teachers offer students new ways of perceiving the world around them. They teach life skills and morals; they teach wise choices, and compassion. So what’s the reason so many new teachers quit the profession or move to a different school? Is it the heavy workload? Low salary? Lack of resources? The demanding nature of the work?
There is an ongoing concern about teacher shortages; a new report explores these questions. A survey by Pearson and LKMco of more than 1,000 teachers in England found that the vast majority (93%) joined the profession because they thought they would be good at it. And it seems the light bulb moments keep teachers motivated – the main reason they stay is to make a difference (92%). Furthermore, more than half (52%) of those surveyed would not change their decision to teach if they could go back in time. One respondent said: “I try to convince everybody to move into the profession because you meet great people with big hearts. When I get on with people, the first thing I ask is why they don’t work in a school.”
In my opinion, and from what I have gathered from research, teachers, especially new teachers, decide on quitting the profession for various different reasons: A career in teaching doesn’t offer promotions, bonuses are few, and small salary increments that are earned on a yearly basis prove insufficient. The salary is often not competitive with other professions where employees have the same educational degree. In some cases, it can be said that resources and projects can also be obstacles the teachers face.
Taking all the above factors into account, It is also important to note that over the years teaching has become harder. Keeping up with the standards, the pressure of testing, crowded schedules and classes all present challenges to today’s teachers. However, as an argument, one cannot disregard the fact that one of the biggest factors that attract teachers to this profession is the difference they can make in the lives of others. Therefore, it’s no surprise that other jobs don’t provide as much satisfaction in this area.
For many teachers, the reason that they have entered the profession lies in their own experiences in school. Usually, they have been inspired by one teacher, especially. Added to this inspiration, is the feeling that there is something worthwhile which he/she can give to others. Perhaps, it is this yearning to give to others that inspire people the most to become teachers.
In my opinion, for this debate, ‘classroom’ experiences contribute to and confirm developing decisions that teaching is the profession that many want to get into simply for the love of the challenge in engaging students with new ideas. The process of locating resources and developing activities encourages the creative instincts of students, deepening their understanding of the material. The opportunity to support and shape the next generation is real and precious, even in this day of shifting priorities and increasing pressures that have very little to do with caring and creating.