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Top 10 Reasons to Quit Teaching

Updated on December 4, 2008

1. Zero Respect. Everyone plays the blame game when it comes to teachers—principals, district officials, policymakers, politicians, parents, pop culture pundits…even students. When students fail to do well on standardized tests, teachers are blamed. This happens even though school officials are fully aware that when teachers inherit students who are several grade levels behind, attend schools that lack critical resources and have little parental support; the odds against their children meeting states standards are staggering.

2. Lack of Autonomy. Many principals micromanage their teachers, refusing to allow them to even choose which materials to use for teaching their students. Some principals even forbid teachers to use textbooks, dictionaries and worksheets. Some teachers aren’t even allowed to decide what to put on bulletin boards, how to configure desks in their classrooms, or where to sit when teaching reading.

3. Personal Expenditures. Teachers frequently have to purchase classroom materials and supplies out of their own pockets. Many teachers spend several hundred dollars per year on materials for their students and classrooms and receive no reimbursement. With school photocopiers constantly breaking down or placed on restriction, most teachers spend a fortune on paper, ink and copy services.

4. Constantly Increasing Responsibilities. It seems that every day a new responsibility is added, each less reasonable and more unrealistic than the last. With no classroom aides or other supports, teachers—who are already coming in early, staying late and taking work home with them—are simply overworked and overwhelmed.

5. Uncompensated Work. Teachers also spend a disproportionate amount of their personal time, either at school or at home, doing school work such as planning lessons, grading papers, researching instructional materials, doing paperwork, calling parents and visiting homes. Regardless of what time teachers “get off the clock,” they often spend numerous hours performing job functions on their own time.

6. Huge Class Size. In some schools, forty or more students are crammed in classrooms. Often, there are not enough desks, chairs or textbooks to accommodate students.



7. Outrageous Practices. Requiring teachers to seat students in groups at all times, even when they are not performing group tasks. Mandating that teachers teach mini lessons to small groups of students while other students work unsupervised. These are just two examples of school district policies that might sound like a good idea to administrators, but often spell c-h-a-o-s for classroom teachers. Research proves that students learn best when they have individualized instruction tailored to their needs. Teachers know this. The way to accomplish this is to give teachers a manageable amount of students and the support of classroom aides. How about holding teachers responsible when students have excessive absences? Believe it or not, some principals consider student attendance rates when rating teachers’ performance.

 8. No Prep Periods. When a resource teacher is absent or filling in for another teacher, classroom teachers lose their prep periods and they are almost never given makeup prep periods. If a parent shows up unannounced or an administrator wants to call an impromptu meeting, teachers lose their prep periods. Even when grievances are filed and eventually decided in teachers’ favor, by the time they are settled, many teachers have moved on before they can reap the benefits.

9. Disrespectful Students. Students frequently curse at, talk back to, threaten and attack teachers. More often than not, appropriate disciplinary action is not taken. Furthermore, administrators and school districts frown upon teachers reporting such matters to police.



10. No Job Security. With the stroke of a pen, teachers can be out of job, stripped of benefits and relegated to substitute teaching pools with no recourse, no due process and no avenues for appeal. Teachers can be hired to fill one position and placed in a different position. Teachers can be removed from regular positions and placed in temporary positions. A teacher’s work hours and work days can change with no prior notice. When schools change from a traditional calendar to being year round, teachers are sometimes informed at the last minute. Teachers are often required to attend “mandatory” professional development training before school, after school, on weekends and during school breaks without additional compensation.


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    • MsMeli profile image

      MsMeli 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I have experienced each of these except for #10, no job security. Teachers are always needed where I live. The only time their position is cut is if they are on an annual contract/have no tenure and their position is cut due to budget changes. Other than that, they are allowed to stay, whether or not they are good. Insufficient evaluation methods exist, and while a new assessment method for teachers has been introduced in my school district, it is not applied the same by all administrators, which defeats the purpose, so teachers are still passing, despite proof of their lack of teaching and classroom management skills.

    • profile image

      Leta S 9 years ago

      Interesting, MNM-

      Many of these are the reasons I didn't go through and get my teaching certificate to teach secondary school. It's well known that the best gig is to teach college--but even that these days isn't all that it is cracked up to be.

      I'm not sorry I didn't go through with it, given these issues. I am sorry that there are probably a lot of people out there with a lot to offer as teachers, who love their subject area who won't do it--all of society's loss.