There’s been lots of discussion, here and elsewhere, about what the Education Budget will really mean for my state. However, I’ve recently learned some news that has made all of the politics which we have been discussing less a matter of an abstract ideal and more of a pragmatic reality. It has really provoked contemplation: a colleague and good friend is leaving the classroom.
Once our School Improvement Chair, she is leaving the field of education all together. My PLT teammate of almost a decade is going to become a corporate trainer and her last day is in two short weeks.
And she’s not the only one.
It seems everywhere I turn, educators with whom I teach or have taught are making the decision to leave the classroom for a rosier horizon elsewhere.
Apparently, this isn’t just localized to my school or county, either. Elsewhere in the state, I was flagged in the following facebook post by a NC high school science teacher discussing the frustrations of staffing her department:
Incidentally, I don’t know one personally, but can you imagine being a North Carolina principal or superintendent trying to staff a school in a county along the Virginia border right now?
Anyway, the conversation that followed this status update included teachers – amazing educators – stating how they are in a market for a new job, or how they are one of the few at their school not in the market for a new job, but only due to pragmatic details like how close they are to retirement, etc.
Educators whom I respect – some I had even hoped my own children would have in the classroom one day – are leaving. And not that I have any immediate prospects, but even if I were to get a job paying $100,000 tomorrow, it would not solve all of my own personal concerns. I don’t want my two children in a system where people are only there because they have no other options.
And, despite what’s being said in the media, that’s what’s really being created.
And while I can’t fault anyone looking for better horizons in the grim landscape that is becoming the classroom educator’s profession, I can tell you it is leaving a feeling of desperation behind. This is not the feeling you want amongst those educating your children. Or grandchildren. Or workforce you’ll need to hire for your business.
These politicians simply can’t keep saying they are putting your children first if they continue to put the state’s teachers last. The bottom line is that as more and more teachers set sail for that horizon, it will be the students upon whom the sun sets.
7 thoughts on “Vol.#38: The Horizon is Arriving”
My husband is currently in a master’s program and it is projected that when he finishes his new degree in two years his salary will double. By then, we will no longer be paying for daycare for my 3yo. He has said that at that point our family finances will be such that I can easily quit teaching and pursue a new career. I’ve thought about this for months and I just can’t imagine what I’d rather be doing. It’s challenging for sure, but oh so rewarding. I’m in it for the long haul so my only choice is to give our state leadership a good fight. And I hope everyone will as well. NC’s children are worth the fight.
I completely agree with the comments you have made about teachers feeling they are being forced to leave for better paying jobs. However, I am a veteran of the corporate world who has come to teaching. The grass is NOT always greener just because your paycheck is bigger. If you think teachers are not being treated as they should be treated, just try the corporate world for a year. In that world backstabbing is a daily occurrence, doing to job of two people (no make that three) is the norm, no time off for family emergencies, when you do take your vacation time you are made to feel guilty for asking off, and you could be fired on any day at any time. No thank you, I’ll stay with teaching. At least I do get the respect of a few coworkers, administrators, and parents each year that I teach. Also, when I put my head on my pillow each night, my heart and my mind are at ease with the world. Money does not buy happiness.
I am beginning my thirteenth year in education and have now reached the point where I am older than the majority of the teachers I work with. I have watched the most experienced teachers retire having lost hope in our education system. I have watched as the peers who began teaching when I did leave the state or leave the profession all together to be able to provide for their families. Don’t get me wrong, new teachers bring a wonderful energy, are proficient with technology, and have the ability to build strong relationships with their students. However, research (Bloom (1985), Bryan & Harter (1899), Hayes (1989), Simmon & Chase (1973)) says that it takes 10,000 hours (roughly ten years) to reach expertise status. I can’t help but wonder if these great new teachers will even stay long enough to reach that level. Doubtful if they never get a raise! As Erica points out it will ultimately be NC children who will miss having those expert teachers.
Nicely put, Erica. I couldn’t agree more. It’s time for political solutions, regardless of your party affiliation.