Friday, January 06, 2017
Teachers And Stress, The Unseen Reason Why Good Teachers Quit.
As a second career teacher I know what it was like to work in an office and now in the classroom and the difference is night and day. In an office you interact with a dozen adult personalities. By contrast, most secondary school teachers interact with the dozen adult personalities and the 150 incomplete and unpredictable teenage personalities. Add that to a hostile and crowded classroom environment due to incompetent or vindictive administrators and unruly students and almost half the teachers feel high daily stress. A high UFT official once told me that 25% of the teachers take anti-depressant or anxiety drugs to get them through the school day.
Even in good school districts 40% of the teachers leave before their fifth year and the quit rate is much higher in high poverty, minority school districts. A study showed that the primary cause of high teacher turnover was student misbehavior and the failure of school administrators to support teachers.
Come Friday at many schools and you will see teachers lying down in the teacher's rooms complaining of headaches because of the accumulated stress throughout the week. New York City Chancellor, Carmen Farina once told new teachers that they should stay away from the teacher rooms and the complaining veteran teachers. However, for these complaining veteran teachers it is their coping mechanism that helps them deal with the accumulated stress.
How to help alleviate the stress? .First, find a low poverty or screened school where the students want to learn. Second, make sure the school administration has a reputation for collaboration with teachers. Finally, find a school with an experienced teaching staff where mentoring and peer role models will help newer teachers handle the everyday insults that go hand -in-hand with teaching in the New York City public schools.
If you cannot find a school that meets all three requirements then take up meditation, you will need it if you are to make a career out of teaching in the New York City public school system.