Should we be the least bit surprised that teachers are generally not getting job satisfaction? Did anyone consider for a moment that the introduction of standardised testing would do little for student achievement and do even less for teacher morale?
Or better yet, an even more compelling question, does anyone even care about the plight of teachers?
As long as Governments keep on peddling their diatribe about how many poor teachers there are in the system and how they are determined to expose them before slowly weeding them out. As long as Educational bureaucrats have someone to blame for low achievement levels, then why should they care?
Sure there are more stakeholders in the educational system than just teachers, and it’s true that teachers aren’t the only ones responsible for disappointing academic figures, But who cares? As long as the public buy the spin about the poor state of the teaching fraternity, it doesn’t really matter that spending on education is mismanaged and misallocated, curriculums are inflexible and politically motivated and the paperwork expectations of teachers are extremely unfair. Why should it matter?
“Those hopeless teachers! All they ever do is complain!”
So, no, I am not surprised the teachers of New York are not enjoying themselves:
More than half of teachers expressed at least some reservation about their jobs, their highest level of dissatisfaction since 1989, the survey found. Also, roughly one in three said they were likely to leave the profession in the next five years, citing concerns over job security, as well as the effects of increased class size and deep cuts to services and programs. Just three years ago, the rate was one in four.
The results, released in the annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, expose some of the insecurities fostered by the high-stakes pressure to evaluate teachers at a time of shrinking resources. About 40 percent of the teachers and parents surveyed said they were pessimistic that levels of student achievement would increase in the coming years, despite the focus on test scores as a primary measure of quality of a teacher’s work.
Sandi Jacobs, vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, a nonpartisan advocacy group in Washington, said the push for evaluations, punctuated by a national movement to curb the power of unions, had fostered an unsettling cultural shift.
“It’s easy to see why teachers feel put upon, when you consider the rhetoric around the need to measure their effectiveness — just as it’s easy to see why they would internalize it as a perception that teachers are generally ineffective, even if it’s not what the debate is about at all,” Ms. Jacobs said.
More than 75 percent of the teachers surveyed said the schools where they teach had undergone budget cuts last year, and about as many of them said the cuts included layoffs — of teachers and others, like school aides and counselors. Roughly one in three teachers said their schools lost arts, music and foreign language programs. A similar proportion noted that technology and materials used in the schools had not been kept up to date to meet students’ needs.
“The fixation on testing has been a negative turn of events when the things that engage kids in schools are all being cut,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.
I could argue that unless teachers are given the conditions and freedom to thrive in their workplace the results are not going to come. But solutions have never been an urgent matter for politicians. They are far more interested in scapegoats – and let’s just say, teachers make great scapegoats!