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What's Wrong With Our Education System? Why Are So Many Teachers Leaving?

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The London Guardian reported this year that two-fifths of teachers are leaving the profession within the first five years, despite massive investment in training.  It is being called a “scandal”.

Read the report here:

In 2013, the Huffington Post reported that close to 50% of Urban teachers [in the US] leave the profession within the first five years.

Read the report here:

Why are so many teachers leaving the profession that they trained for?

The answers vary; however, there is one thing that they all have in common:  unruly, unappreciative, and disrespectful pupils, who refuse to learn, and thusly do not perform well on nationalized standardized tests.

This is because our schools have become nothing more than babysitting centers for ill-mannered children, with little to no guidance at home.  Furthermore, most parents do not support teachers anymore; they generally back-up their little lying children, or just don’t care at all.

The “No-Child-Left-Behind” initiative blames teachers and schools for the failure of the children.  That’s like saying to the boss of a company, “Here are 35 derelict, urban employees, with no direction in life, no support at home, and who if they do show up to work, won’t do what you say.  You may NOT fire any of the derelict employees, no matter how much they are truant, and no matter how much they slack off.  Now, you must make a profit.  If you fail to produce a profit, we will keep the derelict employees and fire you.”

Who the heck came up with that plan?  Many blame Bush, but he didn’t write the plan.  He surely put his John Hancock on the bill, but come on!  Bush wasn’t the brightest rainbow in his class.  He just signed it, because someone advised him to do so.  Never mind; I don’t want to know the idiot’s name, although I do think he/she should be drawn and quartered.

Furthermore, pupils are advanced to higher levels of education each year no matter what their marks were the previous year.  Now, this has got to be the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard in my life.  That’s like taking a bunch of new recruits into a long-standing firm, and advancing them to higher positions in the company, with more important duties and responsibilities, no matter how irresponsible they had been in their rookie year.  No company would survive that kind of non-sense.  The company would be dead in less than a year with that kind of policy.

The Solution

The solution is simple.  Run a school like a business.  If the pupil (the mock employee) is deemed to be “normal” according to the DSMIV [book of mental and behavioral disorders], and if that pupil (mock employee) does not produce adequate results (on standardized testing), then that pupil will NOT be advanced to the next grade level.

It is such a simple solution, that I can’t believe no one has ever thought of it yet?

You don’t promote employees that do not produce adequate results; and we should not promote pupils that do not produce adequate results.  Then, and ONLY then, will parents begin to take some ownership in their child’s education.

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard parents say, “I pay your salary to educate my child.  I am too busy.  That’s YOUR job.”  And, blamingly they ask,  “Why is my child failing?”

Well, let’s see here. Your child doesn’t pay attention in class.  You child rarely does the homework; and he/she certainly never studies for his exams.

Then, the parents glare at you, like you are some kind of evil monster; because their child is a little angel in their eyes and can do no wrong.  So, it must be something that you are doing that is wrong.  Meanwhile the parents of that child haven’t lifted a finger all year to help the child with his/her homework or to study for any exams.

Without fail, the children who get “A’s” in my classes have parental support at home.  You can tell which children are getting help at home and which aren’t.  In grade 1, it is very easy to tell.  If the homework is done, the parents helped.  If it isn’t done, the parents didn’t help.

What Can We Do As Teachers?

Well, since the solution isn’t likely to come anytime soon, we can quit.  Yep!  You read that right.  Quit, and come overseas to work in a better system.  It’s not perfect overseas, and there are some problems, but by and large it is better than teaching in the US or UK public school systems.

I have been teaching overseas since 1995.  I left the US public school system nearly two decades ago, because it was so bad.  I imagine that it is even worse now.

I don’t want to go back.  If it is worse than when I left, heck no!  I am quite content getting paid to see the world, where I am not blamed by the state or the administration for a child’s failure.  Here it is teachers’ paradise!

If you’d like to learn more about how to gain gainful employment as a teacher overseas, please refer to my webpage, which gives free advice and instructions about how to do so.

And, Hey!  You’re Welcome!

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    Total 2 comments
    • JohnT

      I agree that teachers are leaving the profession in greater numbers. The reasons given in the article are symptoms of a deeper malaise in the education system. I think the main reason is that teachers are being made increasingly accountable for things over which they have diminishing control. It’s not reform that is needed but revolution. One thing over which teachers need to regain control is the curriculum. This would be the single most source of frustration; to know you are legally obliged to teach a program which is completely inappropriate to your students’ level of cognitive development and then to get the blame when it fails is the ultimate insult.

      Behind many state mandated curricula today are not educators but politicians and bureaucrats. Political imperative is the single most significant force driving curriculum development today. Surely the starting point in determining the curriculum ought to be from the students themselves. Only the teacher can determine this. The questions that should drive the curriculum are as follows. What can my students do now? What knowledge do they possess? What do they understand? This establishes the baseline. The next questions to be answered have to do with the next steps. Where do the students need to go? What are the first steps needed to get them there? With a “one size fits all” state mandated curriculum these questions are irrelevant. The students are irrelevant. Is it any wonder students are becoming disengaged in greater numbers? Is it any wonder that the number of students with special needs, in terms of learning and behaviour support, is increasing?

      Teachers are leaving the profession for many reasons as indicated above. Wouldn’t the greatest single reason be loss of control; the deprofessionalisation of teachers. Instead of being viewed as professional educators, teachers are being viewed as part of a delivery system for curriculum, which may just as easily be done by anybody with a few weeks training and a desperation for a job. What a monumental shame!

      • AnonymousShaman


        Fascinating comments. I would to have a dialogue with you about some of the issues that you raise.

        Firstly, I did not have the gumption nor the time to list ALL the reasons that teachers are leaving the profession. I agree with you that many teachers are frustrated by being “made increasingly accountable for things over which they have diminishing control.” I would not have cited ‘curriula’ as one of them. My first reaction was that certainly the State should mandate the curriculum (so long as it is a democratic state), but upon further reading of your comments, I began to find myself agreeing with you. Let me explain:

        So many students tell me things like, “I’m going to be a professional singer; I don’t need mathematics.” While I tell them that basic arithmetic is used by people in ALL professions, I would agree that perhaps higher-level mathematics, such as high school algebra, high school geometry, high school trigonometry, and high school calculus just aren’t needed to become a professional singer.

        So, why not let the children choose the direction (course of study, i.e., curriculum) that they would like to pursue after primary school is over? Why not?

        Why do ALL children have to follow the state-mandated curriculum? It’s not suited to ALL. Education should NOT be a one-size-fit-all-mentality thing.

        One thing that I would like to add to my article is that it’s not just disrespect from the pupils that frustrates teachers; rather it is the collage of disrespect from all sides (society, parents, admin, state, etc.) Teachers are NOT held in high regard by anybody anymore!

        I end with this thought:

        “In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something else.”
        ― Lee Iacocca

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