Everybody agrees: a great teacher is the difference between success and failure, for a school, a class, and a student. But right now, great teachers are leaving the profession faster than Dodger fans exiting the stadium during the 7th inning.
The Internet is awash in videos and blogs from outstanding teachers who have had enough. Usually, they are the ones who tried going the distance, bucking the system, sometimes requiring almost superhuman efforts, and they’re the ones who for the most part made a difference in the lives of countless young people. They are the kind of teachers you might remember, and that you want your own child to have.
And yet, often after years of dedicated service, these people are giving up. What pushed them over the edge?
There have always been hurdles placed in front of teachers. All too many of them involve money, sadly. Poverty and all its attendant problems have always been the biggest obstacles preventing young scholars from fulfilling their potential. Parents are working too many jobs to pay attention. Students don’t have a quiet, safe place to study at home. Teachers are low men (and women) on the salary totem poll, and schools seem to be the last places to get funds and first to see them cut, leaving classrooms with too many occupants and not enough equipment, and desperately in need of repair. Yet terrific teachers show up every day, and sometimes are able to inspire their kids to see past the barriers to a better life. More…