There comes a point in teaching where many educators, especially novice teachers, feel overcome and overwhelmed by the stress of the job. As much as we can try to overlook it, this has become a systemic problem that has negatively increased the amount of turnover within the education sector. For some teachers, this can just be because of the unrealistic expectations that are set for them the minute they set foot into the classroom. For others, it can be a compilation of various factors that hinder their mentality and performance. Whatever is the case, we as a society must recognize the problems our educational warriors are facing each and everyday so that we can provide the best needs and resources for our future leaders of tomorrow.
So what are the problems? What factors can prevent a teacher from perform or worse from leaving the field entirely?
Starting off, many teachers, especially those within just a short tenure within the field, feel inadequate in dealing with the kinds of learning and behavioral problems within their classroom. In reality, classroom management is not an easy task. In fact, it constantly changes each and every year. This type of problem forces many teachers to think that they do not have a sense of accomplishment, especially when they do not see immediate results. To help alleviate this, we need to be realistic about the classroom. Unlike what we see in the movies and entertainment industry, teaching is a very tough field. It requires a lot of skill, strategy, planning, and most importantly patience. Without internalizing this, many teachers will be faced with various obstacles that can essentially burn them out by the end of the year.
In addition, many teachers feel that there lacks a sense of autonomy when it comes to their classroom. When it comes to education policy and education reform, much of the bureaucratic policies force these professionals to teach in a specific way. In the grand scheme of things, many teachers feel that a lot of their lesson plans are really out of their hands. This type of mentality can build resentment from administrators, supervisors, board members, and eventually students. While many curriculums are dictated by the day-to-day logistics of the Common Core Standards, it does not mean you cannot express the creativity and ingenuity in your classroom. What you need to realize is that you have to play within your parameters. This, in itself, takes time. Once you are able to manipulate and alter these plans, then you will be able to change the game in your favor.
Now going back to classroom management, one of the biggest obstacles teachers face that lead to stress and anxiety is dealing with troublesome student behavior. Like it or not, not every student will be the perfect child. Their lack of effort and apathetic attitude cannot just infuriate you, but also derail your lesson or an entire class period. To help alleviate this negative, stressed out teachers just need to try various tactics and management skills that can help support difficult behaviors. Try even asking some of your colleagues for help. Remember, you are not the only one going through this. Sometimes, these situations take time. Just try and be patient.
Last but not least, one of the strongest factors a novice teacher or a seasoned veteran will leave the classroom is simply through boredom. Given how stressful the field is, you would think that there will various challenges forcing educators on their toes. However, many teachers will find that after a year or two in the classroom, each day is very much like the next. This stagnate feeling, on top of lack of autonomy, forces many teachers to question their purpose within the classroom. While igniting your passion can be a difficult thing, try and start off by reflecting on why you became a teacher and what work you have done to impact lives. This internalization will allow you to see the type of person you want to be for your students and can hopefully jolt your desire and drive to continue your impact.