Caution to Aspiring Elementary School Teachers: Why Do They Leave The Profession-Part 1
So you have decided to enter the teaching profession, particularly in the elementary level. Some of you may be fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming a teacher. You have that burning desire to impart knowledge to young kids who will be hanging on to every word you say before they leave the classroom. Aspiring teachers, I would like to caution you before you take the plunge. Examine yourself if you are really apt to be an elementary teacher.
Compared with other educated professions, elementary teachers have of one the highest numbers of leavers. Despite the security of tenure provided, particularly by the public elementary school system, many teachers still leave the profession.That is why aspiring teachers need to take caution when deciding if they really would like to be in this profession to avoid the frustration suffered by some teachers. It is quite ironic because there are more aspiring teachers who fail in the licensure examination for teachers than those who pass. Proof? When I took the licensure exams for teachers in 2003, only 37,880 or 26.24% of 144,880 examinees hurdled the exams successfully. And yet, when they are already teaching, they have no second thoughts of leaving the profession.
Breaking down further, there are more elementary school teachers who leave than high school and college teachers. It may be attributed to the fact that there are more elementary teachers compared to high school and college professors. Being in the public elementary school system myself, I have seen some of my co-teachers change profession. Here are the top 5 reasons why public elementary school teachers quit:
> Low Salary
Consider an elementary teacher with 3 children, paying her mortgage, children's education, loans, electricity bills, telephone bills, and other utility bills, transportation or fuel expenses, clothing, food, allowances of her kids, amortization, and other miscellaneous expenses, do you think she can live with her salary alone? She’s lucky if her partner can contribute to the family coffers. But given the opportunity to a job of higher pay, many do not hesitate to leave the teaching profession. I mean, readily! Among the professionals, teachers have the lowest compensation. That is why it is often said that teaching is not really a profession but a vocation.
> Heavy work load
Imagine yourself in the middle of a noisy place, talking with someone and everyone around you seems to be hustling and bustling. Couple that with shrieks and cries. Will you not be rattled? It’s the everyday life of public elementary school teachers. This is their background music, as they make lesson plans, not just one, not 2, not 3, but in some small schools, all the subjects should have lesson plans. Imagine if you have more than 5 subjects to be taught!? Well, you have the choice of doing these while the students are busy some classroom activities or after class hours, of which by now, you are very tired. You may also prepare them in your home before going to sleep, or while your children are doing their own homework. The thing is, your work isn’t done yet even if you are already in your house. What if you still have to do the household chores?
Suppose you do it in school, now here comes your head teacher or principal rushing you for a specific school report. You still have to make the teaching materials for each lesson plan that you prepared. A student suddenly calls out telling you that 2 of your students are having a fight. A co-teacher comes in telling you that the teacher you’re been at odds with is acting up again. Wait, you still have to check on the student whom you’ve been training for tomorrow’s academic contest. What about the test papers you have to check and record. There are 50 students in your class so you have to fill in 50 individual score entry in your record book. It so happened that you gave test in 2 subjects, that will be 100 papers to check and 100 entries in the record book. The list of thing you have to do in school goes on and on. Aspiring teachers, I am not exaggerating!! This is a typical day for most public elementary teachers. When you get home, you have to attend to the needs of your family and the household chores. After everything has been done, you still have to go back for some unchecked and unrecorded test papers you brought home or the never-ending lesson plans. But you need to sleep now or else, you’ll have no energy for another day of duty. Whew! And these students think that it is better to be the teacher than to be the student?
Teaching is truly one of the most tiring professions; that is why teachers leave if given an opportunity to change profession. So you see why I am not that prolific in writing /adding my hubs. Just don’t ask me if I’m thinking of leaving my profession.