Survey: Teacher job satisfaction takes a dive
March 16th, 2012
06:06 AM ET

Survey: Teacher job satisfaction takes a dive

by Carl Azuz, CNN

(CNN) – A recently released survey indicates budgets aren’t the only thing on the downslide in the nation’s schools. According to the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, educators’ satisfaction with their jobs is plummeting.

Back in 1986, about 33 percent of the teachers surveyed said they were satisfied with their jobs in public schools. That marked a low point in the history of the survey. The number jumped to 40 percent a year later, and with some fluctuation, teacher satisfaction climbed to a high of 62 percent by 2008.

But like the economy itself, which has been a drag on schools since the recession hit, teacher satisfaction began to sputter in 2008. It had dropped three points to 59 percent by 2009. And the real freefall took place over the following two years, landing at 44 percent satisfaction by late 2011, when the most recent survey was taken.

Not surprisingly, as satisfaction decreased, desire to leave the profession increased. In 2009, 17 percent of teachers surveyed said they were likely to leave the profession in search of another career; in 2011, it was 29 percent.

Some other interesting findings of this survey: Whether teachers are satisfied or not isn’t linked to demographic characteristics like their race or gender, and it’s not tied into how long they’ve been teaching, the grade level they teach, or the proportion of students at their school who are from low-income families.

Also, teachers with lower job satisfaction are more likely to teach in schools where minority populations make up more than two-thirds of the student body, and in these schools, educators’ likeliness to leave the profession is higher, according to the survey.

Of course, job security plays a role in teacher satisfaction as well. Given the current climate of layoffs and buyouts, it’s not surprising to find that teachers who feel their jobs are insecure are more likely to be unsatisfied with them. And respect factors in, too: Teachers who don’t feel professionally respected by their communities are more likely to leave the field.

This could signal difficult times ahead for school districts looking to retain good teachers and recruit new ones. It also begs questions about the impact this will have on education. Can uninspired teachers still inspire their students?

You can read the latest and previous editions of the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher here.

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soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Nathan

    It takes a VILLAGE to raise a child, not just a teacher.

    I'm responsible for teaching 140 very different teenagers on a daily basis. Therefore, every day I have 140 students with 140 different personalities, learning styles, abilities, levels of motivation and levels of maturity. Managing a classroom is not easy work; it's quite exhausting. I arrive early to school and leave late most days. I spend my 4 week summer vacation revamping my lesson plans trying to improve them and reflecting upon what I can do better. I also have to take college courses in order to keep up my teacher certification. I assure you I take my job seriously and I can honestly say most of my colleagues do as well.

    Parental involvement makes a world of difference when it comes to students' learning. My school has two scheduled parent-teacher conferences each year. I usually have around 3 parents show up and typically it's the parents of my "A" students. That always amazes me. The parents I wish would show usually don’t even when I request for them to come. Also, parental involvement is so easy nowadays. The teachers in my county are required to post students’ grades onto an online grade book that must be updated at least twice a week. The grade book can be accessed with a login by both students and parents. At any given point, a parent can login to the grade book and see how his/her child is performing in every class. The parent also has the ability to communicate with the teacher by messaging him/her on the grade book website. It’s such a wonderful communication tool, but I rarely get any messages from parents.

    Often times, I feel I care more about my students’ learning then they do themselves. It is my job to teach, but it’s also the students’ job to learn. Learning requires effort which is something a lot of them unfortunately lack. At some point, students need to realize that learning does require some self-discipline of their own.

    Teacher bashing is not the answer to solving educational issues; it’s going to require a team effort from the whole village.

    March 29, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • nathandf

      @ Nathan : You started out with the old ' it takes a whole village...' thing and as a Jr/Sr high teacher myself I was immediately angry. It takes two involved parents – mom and dad. I have three kids of my own and I want no part of the 'village' raising them. They can teach and coach but that should be the extent of it. I agree with your assessment, however, that most parents do want the village to raise their child and get quite angry and upset at the school district when we don't. Your experience mirrors mine and after 28 years doing this – lack of support from every side chips away at the motivation to keep doing it. I love the kids and want them to succeed but how many cheap shots from all side can one take...? And why?

      March 29, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
  2. krehator

    My satisfaction in how well they teach has taken a dive. How do teenager that cannot read get into high school? Parents pass them?

    They do a poor job, and then turn around and try to finger parents for the blame. I've never had a teacher come to my work to help me out!

    If you are a teacher and do not like the conditions or pay, no one is making you stay. Move along....

    March 29, 2012 at 2:59 am |
  3. Stuart Shumway

    I earned one of the toughest degrees I could find (electrical engineering), and worked as an engineer for 10 years on some high pressure projects. I started teaching 5 years ago, and have enjoyed a challenge way beyond anything I anticipated. I have great respect for the teachers that have worked with the students I teach and kept them motivated and progressing as long as they have. These students have tough things to deal with outside of school. It must be their desire for something better that keeps them trying at school. It is hard for me to stay motivated in such a high stress environment. Every once in a while, a parent or a student says "thank you", and I can keep up the intensity for another couple months. Thanks to all my teachers that helped me do better than I thougt I could.

    March 19, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Mark

      The unfortunate truth is that a lot of recent college grads are doing into teaching because they anticipate easy hours and a relaxed work environment. From my experience, only 10% of teachers got into teaching because they wanted to build the intellectual foundations of future generations.

      March 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
      • Wil (Virgin Islands)

        Obviously, MARK, your "experience" is extremely limited not unlike your critical thinking skills. Of course there are those who, like you, went into teaching because expected a bed of roses and a super salary topped off with loads of vacation time. I have been a teacher for more than 20 years, I have three very marketable degrees so I could do "better". There are many more who like me could have chosen better paying jobs with less stress but they are driven by a desire to change lives, to make a difference. I am by no means the only one.

        The teachers you described are a negligable minority. You should probably get new friends...

        March 26, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
      • Wil (Virgin Islands)

        Obviously, MARK, your "experience" is extremely limited not unlike your critical thinking skills. Of course there are those who, went into teaching because, like you, they thought it was a bed of roses with a super salary topped off with loads of vacation time. I have been a teacher for more than 20 years, I have three very marketable degrees so I could do "better". There are many more who like me could have chosen better paying jobs with less stress but they are driven by a desire to change lives, to make a difference. I am by no means the only one.

        The teachers you described are a negligable minority. You should probably get new friends...

        March 26, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
      • krehator

        at least someone can admit the truth.

        March 29, 2012 at 3:03 am |
    • krehator

      There are some great teachers out there, but their hard work is ruined by the bad teachers. Everyone is too afraid to get rid of the bad teachers. It is too "buddy buddy" at times, and the teacher Union does not make it any easier.

      Get rid of the bad teachers and things will improve.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:02 am |
  4. Deal With It

    You guys (teachers) have it made....I know that it's not easy trying to motivate kids who don't want to be at high school, or to have to instill civility amongst a group of kindergartners who were spoiled rotten at home...or the extra hours spent advising clubs/sports etc...but seriously.....you guys have it made....how the hell can it be that bad..

    March 19, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Really?

      Please come spend one week in my classroom, carrying the whole workload. Honestly you probably would not make it a day! I am sure you would change your mind after you spend 15 hours a day working and also clock at least another 8 hours on the weekend. Then after you have worked that much be told that you are still not doing enough. That is what teachers are dealing with now. So if you not think it is that easy please step up to the plate and take on one of the most important yet under-appreciated jobs in our nation!

      March 20, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
      • Leila

        Thank You!!! I would LOVE to see all these nay sayers and anti-union folks come into MY classroom for just ONE day! I teach six (6) periods: 3 periods of freshmen and 3 periods of juniors. I get to work at 6:30 every morning and stay until 4:00 PM. I'm not complaining. I love my job, but really, it is NOT a cake walk.

        March 26, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • BGL

      Ummmmm not really. Have you tried to work with 35 high school students with varying degrees of interest, motivation, willingness? Have you watched kids make bad decisions even after you try to help them? Have you talked to a parent who doesn't give a rats butt abou their kid? Have you ever stood between two young men on the verge of an explosion? Have you ever had your performance based on the success of 200 others who may or may not give a crap? Spend a week with me and you won't think it's so easy.

      March 23, 2012 at 5:23 am |
    • Janet preslee

      Okay, you come do it for a week, and tell me how I have it made.... I love it, but the younger generation is less tolerant of our job than before.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Bec

      All I can say.... if your solutions can make our schools better, teach our kids more effectively, and raise the standard for teachers in this country... then we welcome you into the profession. Come join our ranks, because we are always looking for ways to give our best to our students. If you don't want to spend the money to get a degree that won't make you much money but will make a huge impact on our society, then feel free help by volunteering to read with our intensive kids, mentor our troubled kids, or even just make our copies for us so we have more time to spend working directly with our students.

      If you're not willing to be part of the solution, please stop complaining.

      March 26, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • spent

      It can be that bad because of having to put up with the comments such as you made and dealing with this, "mentality" on a daily basis.

      March 27, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • MsB

      Oh, PLEASE! I have been a high school teacher for 23 years. How hard can it be? Do you think kids come into classes all excited and ready to learn? Do you think they have all got the requisite number of hours of sleep and good nutrition so they can pay attention? Do you think loving parents and stable home life is the reality for every student? Do you think they're all cookie-cutter equal in ability and motivation? Go to any school and spend some time in a classroom. When you have done that, then I'll be glad to listen to you pontificate. There will be a teacher shortage in the years to come, and it will be because of people like you who don't value what teachers do.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • tired

      Why am I tired? I work well over 50 hours a week. I don't have a classroom. Thankfully, I have a supportive family that encourages me and understands why I work so much. I would say that I put 12 months of work into 9 months, but I don't take the summer off! I am reading, working to improve myself and do more advanced planning and I am working with my special education daughter to help her maintain what she learned during the year and try to make some progress before the new year begins.
      I work in an award winning school. It is that way because my colleagues work very hard. I can tell you it is VERY frustrating to fight all of these things which have happened just this year (and I work in an elementary school):
      1) child must be hospitalized be cause he is so mentally ill
      2) child's mother dies of a drug overdose
      3) child has to be frisked every morning because he is violent and brings things to harm other students with
      4) parent refuses to immunize their children and plays the game of constantly making and failing to show up for appointments to do so.
      5) DFS has to be called because students will not come to school, and we have no way of contacting the parents because they have turned the phone off and don't answer the letters.
      6) at open house a parent asks if we can just plan on retaining child because she doesn't have time to deal with his problems.
      7) child with severe attention issues is failing and parent doesn't want to allow the child to recieve any kind of assistance, also does not want child retained (no child left behind, except mine!)
      Not only did this all happen at my school this year, it happened in just TWO of our grade levels. These kids know we are fighting for them and their future, but by the 5th grade, some of them realize we are the only ones who care about them and they just give up.
      I plan on taking my retirement funds and fleeing the country.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  5. J. Scott

    Public education cannot possiblly deal with the variety of young people in the US. Bleeding heart, politically correct, ignorant people believe in "no child left behind". No, not every child is capable of learning. We were not created equal intellectually. Not every child is capable of the learning required to go to college, nor dies everyone need a college education. The sooner the powers that be admit that the "the Emperor is wearing no clothes" and make a reality check the sooner we will have a sensible, workable public education system. We need training schools, vocational schools and fewer college prep curriculums.
    A Forty Year Public School Teacher

    March 19, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • James

      NCLB was created by Bush JR

      March 28, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  6. ytuque

    Just take a swing by the local mall and observe the mall rats in their native habitat. These are the inputs to the school system. It's no wonder teachers are frustrated and unsatisfied. Now if you get a chance to meet the parents, the fruit didn't fall far from the tree.

    March 19, 2012 at 6:34 am |
  7. unowhoitsme

    1. Teachers can't even "touch" a student without a lawsuit being filed and the kids know it, so bad behavior becomes even worse. Kids swear in the classroom all the time and nothing is done about it.
    2. Parents expect the school and teachers to "fix" everything without any parental responsibility.
    3. Teachers must teach to "the test" instead of concentrating on the skills needed at that grade level. Their pay is determined by their test results. Now you have kids without basic skills that can't think beyond a calculator.
    4. Teacher unions now have so much control, you can't fire a bad teacher; kids suffer at the hands of these teachers that hate teaching, but are buying their time until retirement.
    5. Shootings in schools have become so popular, you don't want to anger a troubled student in case he/she goes home and comes back with a gun.

    The teaching profession just isn't what it used to be...reading, writing, arithmetic and discipline. (We used to produce highly intelligent individuals. Now many American companies hire foreign engineers, because they can't find enough intelligent Americans.) It why we rank so low compared to other nations. We're becoming a third world country. Instead of investing in education, which is the prevention of crime, we'll be building more prisons. Now only 76% of high school students actually graduate from high school. An uneducated country is doomed.

    March 19, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • Tom

      My GF is a teacher (here in NJ)...She's been a teacher for about 7 years now...she got tenure at 5 years. She has gotten stellar performance reviews ever single year until now....oddly enough she uses the same teaching techniques the school district instructed her to use - to the "T" and her kids love her in class, she even was praised by the special needs reading instructor for her district as being "excellent". Odd - the year a new super-intendant AND a new principal are installed her and several other teachers who always got good marks and followed the guidelines for teaching that the school district told them to follow....are now getting bad reviews....she was highly upset (my GF *loves* teaching...she loves her kids...) last weekend ..almost in tears...she already stays after school many days putting time into lesson plans, she pays for things for her class out of her own money...she's always reading some book or manual for class ....to the point I'll joke and say "ok hon you are allowed to take a break from work you know"...

      So she's not your lazy , doesn't give a crap , I have tenure so now HA HA HA in your face tax payers, type of teacher the public likes to make teachers sound like....I'm biased because I love her of course...but I'm telling you – she really likes teaching for the fact of being a teacher.

      Now it seems there's a shakeup with the new prinicipal and superintendent...and btw Gov Christie here in NJ...he's trying to eliminate tenure 100%....which is fine....but my point to all this...they are ripping into GOOD teachers who pour their soul into their job...that's just not right.

      I told my gf to take this up with the union because there's something fishy going on in her school district...

      March 19, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Thomas

      I leave in the UK and work at a secondary school. All the points you have mentioned mirrors exactly was is going on here.
      The kids are out of control. I fear for our future as a whole.

      March 19, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  8. thatguy

    also it doesn't matter if teachers leave I know a lot of college students graduating with different degrees who would love to have a job in education

    March 18, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Chad

      Just because you have a degree doesn't mean you know how to teach. Losing experienced teachers hurts students.

      March 19, 2012 at 2:57 am |
    • Janet preslee

      really, because once a lot of student teachers spend their time in the classroom, many of them change their major. Once they become teachers, the fall out rate is huge, and few make it to their 5 year mark.

      March 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  9. thatguy

    1 . Quit it with the standardize testing i went to a private school that gave 2 shizs about standardize testing. I did meh on the ACT but I destroy my public school counter parts with higher ACT scores in College. Let teachers teach what they think is right and stop teaching the standardized test.

    2. No tenure

    3. Parents need to stop defending their kids when they are wrong.

    4. No papers work just do random evaluations. You might have to destroy unions to stop with the high amounts of paper work though.

    March 18, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  10. lbr70

    and when i say 50 hours i mean AT SCHOOL. not on your couch.

    March 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  11. lbr70

    teaching should b a 50 hour a week job 50 weeks a year and they should be compensated accordingly. people say ' well look at this country or that country and how advanced their kids are.' i say look at their teachers, i bet americas dont even compare. i dont take these teachers seriously when some do it solely because itssummers, nite and weekends off. and they show up looking like they just left a slumber party.

    March 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • teacher

      Hey lbr70....

      I'm a teacher. When you average the hours I put in: 1. at school, 2. the outside hours I put in coaching, 3. the outside hours I put in pulling the band trailer, 4. the hours and money I put in taking outside classes (which are required to keep my job), 5. The many hours I put in lesson planning, and 6. the time I put in counseling students who are contemplating suicide; I am willing to bet I would put in OVER 50 hours per week easily (I put in between 70-90 hours a week in during the school year with no overtime which I'm sure you get). Another thing you have to consider is the stress that goes into teaching (meaning dealing with people like you, dealing with politicians and school board members who have never taught a day in their lives making decisions about your profession, dealing with parents who just want their kids to receive A's without doing a lick of work, and dealing with kids who do not want to be in your class.).

      I've poured concrete for 10 years before teaching and I've served tables. Both of those jobs were a cakewalk in comparison to what I do now. If you want to come and show me how to do it better, please let me know. I bet you have no idea how many former teachers are in the private sector doing YOUR job better and making more money than you. If more teachers continue to leave the profession due to making more money and having an easier life, do you think Americas education system is going to improve?

      March 18, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Tom

      LBR70 if you are going to paint with a brush that broad....at least give some credit to the hard working teachers by adding "some not all teachers..." sort of thing.

      As I posted above my GF is a teacher....she busts her ass.

      March 19, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  12. Michael

    Why are so many teachers now, and jurt watch their approval with Obamas reforms, pushing for trade schools? Many reasons and their bias shows, inner city schools, those children of those with trade school skills and the working poor. Notice how teachers talk about dislike teach to test yet what is instruction within trade school modeled upon? New reforms are not old model as new system also includes retail, burger and taco, in order of service industry. New system will not change much for teachers K thru 6 except for children deemed worthy of Fast Track who will then recieve more instruction by merited status teachers, many under Charter Schools. Charter School was indeed teacher and Educator inspired as its purpose is to seperate those chaotic hard to educate and let teachers do job. the old dad get a job any job like they did from days when hand labor welders, all types, mechanical, tooling were concidered skills are gone!

    March 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  13. engineer

    as aubsitute teacher i can point out one problem. as i began a math class the first thing students did was to go for their shool available calculator when faced with a problem. i realized immediatly that they apent all their time in looking for a solution on the calculator and waisting theifr time in doing simple mathematical additions and multiplications which in the past students knew their tables. anothe issue i saw was discipline of a minoridty of students in the classroom and finally, the evaluation of teachers by the performance of troubled schools and theaching to the sol tests.

    March 18, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Thomas

      Let's hope you don't teach spelling at your school.

      March 19, 2012 at 6:21 am |
  14. Michael

    Memes are hard to sqash, and the one that teachers were the main force behind push for all childhood is not historicly accurate, not off topic. The present chaos is and always was a social structuring mainly organized to suit an economic model, Industrial over agrarian. Lets get real, never again will the saoe level of economic affluence be obtained by a massive amount of an uneducated society as was the norm for mainly a white Euocentric nationality.

    March 18, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  15. David

    "Can uninspired teachers still inspire their students?" Really, since when have teachers been able to inspire? Teachers have to teach to standardized tests. "Inspire" is not on the test!!!!!

    March 18, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  16. DAK

    Put the responsibility where it INHERENTLY BELONGS: On the student, and by extension also on their parents. There is no such thing as "teaching". A teacher is "only" a resource, as is a textbook. Learning is NOT a "spectator sport"! - Unless and until this is recognized by EVERYONE involved, nothing will improve and instead it will only get worse.

    March 18, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  17. Vocational school expansion

    Public schooling must face reality someday for the better: Not every child has the discipline and motivation to learn and study in the traditional academics. Vocational schools should be expanded as a primary education, not an alternative. Many more students than today would flourish learning a trade with the necessary basic academic skills. Later when adults, they can always return to learning. By separating the unmotivated and undisciplined further, students can excel in academics and pursue higher educations. But until liberal progressive educators face reality, ALL students and teachers will be pulled down to a low performance in academics.... Teachers aren't the problem nor the solution; The system needs major reform.

    March 18, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  18. John

    If you teach in an upper income school... you are fine. The parents there tend to be PARENTS ...they truly care for their kids and it is reflected in the respectful, civil manners there. Once the you drop into the poorer schools, it is frig'n off the chain!!! In the past, you could only find such beastly behavior in the biggest inner city schools.... now that welfare has spread all into our smaller towns and cities, we are seeing the same inhuman behavior there, too. People it is rough and the teachers are being emotionally tortured by those kids, their "parent", and an administration that does not protect the teacher from them.

    March 18, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  19. get out while you can

    I taught in two public high schools for over six years in California. During this time, I was called profane names, threatened with two lawsuits (one by parents of a student who didn't show up to class for 3 months straight, and the other a special ed student who physically assaulted other students in class) and warned by a principal "not to fail too many students". When I called parents to tell them their child had been tardy twelve days in a row, again I was met with abuse and name calling, and threats to get me fired. Sure, there were some wonderful kids and parents, but with all of the abuse and lack of support, coupled with spending my weekends grading papers, planning lessons, and chaperoning events, where's the upside? I ended up on anxiety and depression meds before I just couldn't take it anymore. I do miss the good parts of teaching, but when you take away all teacher's power and give it to students and parents, there really isn't an upside – or as I see it, any reason to be there at all.

    March 18, 2012 at 8:01 am |
  20. C J

    Wow you guys are late with this.

    The survey also said the happiest teachers had parent participation.

    The survey also asked teachers if they were being viewed as professionals by their peers. Among the unsatisfied teachers that rate was 68 percent, compared with nearly 90 percent of the satisfied teachers.

    34% of teachers don’t view their jobs as secure.

    A percentage of 60% of new teachers (less than five years) said that having a learning expert would be very helpful. Plus 57% of teachers working in a school where 2/3 of their class is low income also said they need a learning expert.

    Next years survey will be a jaw dropper.

    March 18, 2012 at 6:47 am |
  21. whosurdaddy

    The stupid students became stupid teachers no surprise

    March 17, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Karen Kay

      Love this comment..most teachers I know ranked near the top of their classes and thought that others shared their same excitement and devotion to learning. Stupid us!

      March 18, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  22. Justice

    The teachers are dissatisfied because they required to teach Non speaking students English hence they must alter the curriculum to accommodate these children of lazy illegal immigrant parents. They must buy their own supplies because the school district is spending millions and in some cases billions to provide ESL classes! While billions of dollars are give to illegal immigrants in tax refunds each year. I say Deport the ones that don't have legitimate jobs, make them pay taxes, discontinue any and all forms of public assistance, remove all esl classes schools, fail the kids if they can't pass. This is my immigration reform and would put this country back on track in no time!

    March 17, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  23. Nuke

    My wife went to school for four years while being a full time mom so she could be an elementary school teacher. Three years of working til 10 pm at home every night, of buying her own classroom supplies, of getting one month of summer (unpaid) when people always talked how they got "three months of built-in vacation", – NONE of that is what caused her to dump education as a career following the third year. It was ignorant parents. Parents who thought schools should raise their children. Parents who raised mouthy, disrespectful children then blamed the teachers for it, and parents who didn't like the fact that sometimes kids would be held accountable for not doing their assignments.

    March 17, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • NeverAgain

      Nuke: I totally understand where you're saying. Although I was not a licensed teacher, I did work as an aide w/ spec. ed. children for several years in two school districts and what you've said is absolutely true....regardless of race. At the last school I worked, it was administration that let the 'inmates run the asylum'. Heaven forbid I should tell a special ed student 'No' or put them in 'time out' for hitting, kicking and pinching me. I'm the one who got in trouble. I finally had enough and walked. I have no intention of EVER working for a school again. And the sad thing is is that it's the kids who suffer; I was good at what I did and enjoyed helping these students learn how to read and write.

      March 18, 2012 at 12:38 am |
  24. Christian

    Teachers' job satisfaction is down? No kidding! With lousy salaries being cut further, kids sassing off when they're not texting on their cell phones...you have to worry some wacko gamer is going to enter the school and blow away everybody with his daddy's M-16 hunting rifle! Let the mayor or, better, Governor (don't worry, he won't be missed–the bureaucracy runs itself) spend a month teaching civics or history to 11th graders. THEN we can talk "teacher satisfaction"!

    March 17, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  25. SPECULATION

    THE EDUCATION SYSTEM CAN NOT COMPETE FAST ENOUGH WITH OTHER COUNTRIES AND OUR KIDS ARENT ROBOTS NOTICE THE SYSTEM WANTS TO REPLACE HUMANS WITH COMPUTERS THEIR TAKING OUR JOBS ENOUGH SLOW DOWN ENJOY LIFE

    March 17, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  26. Andy

    Sure there are bad teachers, and there are stories you can point to in any profession of people being unprofessional or ineffective. You are just looking for a cause of the problem, so it seems logical to blame teachers. They are the ones teaching, right? So let's dump all of these ridiculous rules, regulations and testing on people that are already overwhelmed and blame them more. Until we realize that this problem, as well as the VAST majority of our society's problems, is caused by the break down of the family we are never going to fix it. We have lost the fabric that holds our society together and accountable. These students show up with very little work ethic or desire for excellence, yet teachers are expected to magically make them score well on a test. If a student is thrilled to pass English with a "D", would you want your job to depend on this student's test score? As a teacher, I would love to see some of these people pointing fingers step into a high school classroom with more students than desks and try to teach anything effectively. I would like to see them try to inspire like Lombardi, think like Einstein, diagnose like Freud and produce amazing results with EVERY kid. Right after you are done grading a mountain of papers and keeping track of a behemoth of benchmarks, standards and expectations. After you are done giving your best, you are attacked by the people you are trying to help for getting paid too much (even though you have a masters degree) and doing a crappy job. If we are going to save this country it will have nothing to do with the government, it will come from personal accountablity and desire to succeed. If this doesn't start in the home forget it.

    March 17, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • menglish

      Amen, sister.
      22 years teaching, and I'm tired.

      March 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  27. Steve- Illinois

    Teachers, and administrators fight tooth and nail to be held accountable for anything! Teacher "reviews" are a joke! Everyone knows there are good, and bad teachers. Every community knows who they are. Teacher unions, and teachers themselves, do little, usually nothing, to rid themselves of poor teachers. Instead they protect them.
    I don't know where all of these underpaid teachers live, but they should move to Illinois! No group of people I know of is better at pointing fingers, and deflecting any responsibility for results than teachers, and administrators! Google Illinois teacher pay, then Google test results. In La Salle County, 100 miles from Chicago, every high schools test results were below 60% "meeting or exceeding" state standards. When almost 1/2 of the kids are flunking the tests, how can anyone consider themselves an "effective" teacher? Teachers demand respect, yet show up in school dressed like students, not professional teachers. What would you think if you went to court and your attorney showed up in jeans, sneakers, and a t-shirt? Having kids read chapter 7, while you sit at your desk texting, is not teaching! As they say in the Marines, "Respect is earned, never given!"

    March 17, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • honest abe

      people like you are the problem! YOU DON'T KNOW A THING ABOUT WHAT GOES ON IN A SCHOOL except from a students perspective. I bet you have a kid or two who DON'T perform very well (not proficient). Looking to blame – look at yourself! What have you done for your dumb kids?

      March 18, 2012 at 12:59 am |
      • Karen Kay

        Agreed.

        March 18, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Tom

      That's the problem its not that simple. The people who don't get the real issue are the people who set up the problem like you do by saying the teachers are ineffective....."because the test scores prove it..."

      Teachers alone don't make a student learn the material and this is the issue....PARENTS must be involved ....remember that movie Jerry Maguire "Help me ...help you....".......well....that's what teachers need to say to parents ""Help us...help your kid...(learn)"

      I can recount dozens of stories I've heard of where the parents just put it all on the school and the teachers..its like "ok so teach him/her"....

      Soooo sorry to disapoint all the parents who maybe never really wanted to be parents....but yeah being a good and responsible parent means being INVOLVED in your kid's life....including his/her education...among other things....sorry its not easy to be a parent.

      March 19, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  28. Teacher and Parent

    In order to teach in Pennsylvania, one must earn a Bachelors Degree, after which you may enter the field with a Level 1 certification (only good for a max of 6 service years).
    In order to obtain a Level 2 certification (permanent teaching certification) you must teach for 3 -6 years AND earn an additional 24 post-baccalaureate credits. In most cases, this requirement is basically a Masters Degree, however some may choose to just get random graduate credits. Either way, this is an additional financial requirement for the teacher in order to remain employed.
    Added to these requirements, teachers must also earn Act 48 credits every 5 years through the following means: earning six collegiate credits or six PDE-approved in-service credits or 180 continuing education hours or any combination of the above every five calendar years. While some of these credits may be obtained through district-arranged seminars, there are times in which teachers must participate in seminars on their own time, and at their own expense.

    Teachers enter the field of education because of a desire to help students, not because they want summers off. Are there some “poor” teacher? Absolutely. But I truly believe that they are few and far between.

    And who decides what qualifies as a “poor” teacher? Student grades? Standardized scores? Graduation rates? What about qualities such as, Kindness, the ability to model the qualities of Mutual Respect, and the willingness to continue to Grow Professionally in order to try to reach that trouble student? There is so much more to successful students than the ability to fill in bubbles in order to answer structured questions. What about problem solving – academically and socially, applying coping skills when things don’t go your way, or engaging in a lively discussion without the evolution of an all-out physical or verbal brawl?

    Now, after continued commitment, financially and professionally, teachers face ridicule from the Governor, many parents, and school administrators. Questions are continually raised about teacher’s salaries, instructionally skills, and professionalism. However, no discussion is given to the salaries of administrators, superintendents, or even the financial waste going on behind the school doors. Furthermore, not so much as a murmur is given to the expected role of parents within their child’s education.

    I am quite thoroughly tired of the teacher-bashing.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • M in Oz

      I agree with you. The people teacher bashing assume that teachers all earn too much and don't do their jobs. It helps when parents are involved in helping their children since there are so many children in a class and so little time to get through every subject and help each child achieve their potential.

      March 17, 2012 at 3:42 am |
    • Colorado Columbine

      Amen!! You said it well.

      March 17, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  29. scott

    I have heard a lot about education reform, yet it all comes from politicians and the like. We have even been blamed for the woes of our economy in extreme editorials. The current solutions have all come from the top but not from the teachers. True education reform, at this point, should come from those who have been in the trenches. We have heard from the parents, communities, unions, superintendents, etc. yet we have not really heard from the teachers. I find teachers to be fairly passive when it comes to expressing themselves regarding these issues. You (the rest of the public) might be surprised by the suggestions of education reform that teachers and principals may offer (if given the chance). One suggestion to start with: treat the teacher as a professional (think of your doctor or plumber). Granted, I only work 70-80 hours a week during the school year and put in only 200+ hours during the summer for free–so I am only a part time employee (I do not get paid for summers) I do take my job seriously like a doctor or plumber (we are a nonprofit organization however). I do have like many other teachers, some perspective on the direction that public education should go. In our society and in the world, we will experience massive changes in the near future. We teachers have the awesome responsibility to prepare young minds and souls for that task. I think it time we teacher step up and assert our role in this task. Truly given the chance, I think we would. This is why I got into education in the first place.

    March 16, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  30. Maria Cordova

    some teachers do Love teaching... Others have no business doin it...

    March 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • honest abe

      some parents are good parents... others have no business having kids! we attempt to teach them all. you need someone to blame? look at yourself.

      March 18, 2012 at 1:02 am |
  31. Michael

    What The question this nation needs to decide, What does Education mean? You can train animals and you can train humans to perform task but are either cases an education? Pres. Woodrow Wilson** What we need are a class of peoples with a Liberal Education and a class, that must by necessity of all nations need. of people who will forgo such an education and fit themselves for the manual labor task at hand*?. Schooling for some 60 per cent of all future students to be chosen to be fit for training until 18 years as no more than low wage liveable wage skills! 20 per cent to be trained in hi tech skills and hard sciences with last group to be traind as innovative management and overseers of nations needs. Why should anyone trust a teacher to determine just whose child will advance? By merit only by necessity means test and psycological evaluation.

    March 16, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  32. Michael

    Contrary to popular meme of blaming the parents and stupid children for their failures as teachers teachers themselves have been the main push in the conditions they now work within, from their influence of teaches unions within Dept. of Ed. in DC and every state capital. Teachers teach entry levei children who in the vast majority of cases today who are far more preparation than those of 30 years ago because pre school programs and such that they as teachers lobbied for. Their reason for lobby was to make job easier, blame the child and the parent. The already at that time over abundance of teachers due to lobby for union totes for more loans, grants, then gave un empolyed and unemployable degreed a job. Yet for all those who complain about the quality of the US system produced today this country today leads the world in every hi tech and despite industry and our military whines that we need more hard science* A need that the military research being the largest drain upon creative power

    March 16, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Greg

      As a teacher, I'll tell you that it's not job security or pay or workload that leads to the unsatisfied feeling. It's the complete untrust from the public we seem to have. We are the ones who keep getting more and more and more regulation in what we teach and how and they keep piling on more and more and more paperwork. For what? Kids aren't coming out at the levels they should be because we're stuck filling out form after form after form trying to get all this crap done instead of planning and trying to teach to everyone's learning style or teach in a way that might be interesting. I agree that we teachers shouldn't be the only ones making a judgement call on who will succeed in life and who wont. But when you have a society that seems to think EVERYONE should go to college we get forced to try and teach all kids like they'll all go. I teach students who don't do well in school. It would be nice if we had more programs where they could go to learn trades or something like that. Instead of focusing on another possible route besides college, society thinks that not having a college degree makes you useless which is unfair. We need to change as a society where we understand that a person who doesnt want to go onto college isnt stupid they just have other interests. I tell my kids constantly you get into a trade you could easily make more money. If that's what you want to do why waste the time and tons of money going to college. But I can tell sometimes the kids beat themselves up because they don't feel like they'll make it into college even though they wanna go. It's not just the education system, it's everyone. We need to say parents you need to be responsible for guiding your children, teachers you give these kids every chance you can in school to learn what they wanna do and give them options on how to reach that and then kids, you need to learn to advocate for yourselves so they someday you can make it on your own. Right now it just seems like a giant blame game. Educators wanna blame parents (which in some cases I do myself) and parents wanna blame teachers. Where does it get us?

      March 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
      • Barbara

        Thank you Greg, for an intelligent reply to these posts. I am a special education teacher for 44 years and still teaching. I have seen the quality of home life for my children sink to almost no support from home. Many of the children that I have served for the past 12 years are being raised by their grandparents, due to drug use and abandonment by the birth parents. My school has 85% poverty level and we send home 55 backpacks of food each weekend to make sure these children have food to carry them through the long weekend. We have wonderful community support for Christmas and Thanksgiving to be sure they have food and gifts. The paperwork is a nightmare and people in an authority position telling teachers what to teach to improve scores makes my head spin. I would welcome any of them to come and sit in our shoes and do what they require teachers to try and accomplish.

        March 16, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
      • Brian

        I think you have hit the mark. The world dosn't need more liberal arts degrees. It needs more people who have a trade and are ready to do a job. Gone are the days where a B.A. or a B.S. was a golden ticket to a great job and career which is inverse to the amount of pressure being put on kids to recieve those degrees.

        March 17, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • Jaime47

      Has anyone ever told you that almost everything you think you know is wrong? Your assumptions are merely that, and no more. Teachers fought for early childhood education because they knew that the time to gear young minds to lifelong learning is in the pre-school years. They knew that the factors tearing at the fabric of American family life (the virtual necessity of both parents working outside the home, single-parent families, and a culture increasingly dominated by mass media) were having profound effects on the children. Even though kids are entering the education system at a younger age, they are still receiving no re-inforcement at home, so the impact is minimized. And there is not an abundance of teachers. In fact, there has been a chronic shortage for years. Finally, our country does not lead in every high-tech field, as you suggest. Until you can back up your comments with facts, it's probably best for you to remain quiet.

      March 17, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • honest abe

      you need an education

      March 18, 2012 at 1:03 am |
  33. write about what you know

    I don't know a single teacher who doesn't have some part-time job on top of their teaching job. Most teachers take second jobs as private tutors, coaches, and even waiters in order to make ends meet. Most high school teachers work 7-3 (8 hours) which is equivalent to 9-5 in case Tex-Doc can't do math. On these so-called "holidays" many of them are working at a second job. Education begins at home. If a child has been raised in a home where education is not important what chance does a teacher have to change that frame of mind in 45 minute installments. Or... better yet, let's take a student who comes to school about once a week and hold his teacher accountable for his education. That seems fair. It would be like sending a broken down Taurus to a mechanic and telling him by the end of the year you want a Mustang. And oh, by the way, the mechanic can only spend one hour a week working on the car. In any other field this kind of perfection would never be expected. Yet, in the field of education, teachers are expected to be perfect all the time and if the students are not performing it is always the teachers fault and never the fault of the students or their parents.

    March 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  34. steven

    Wonder why. Every year the state, county, and city cuts the education budget. Many places now hand out hundreds of pink slips to teachers. They have to babysit children that parents refuse to parent. The state has must meet knowledge level or else. No one seems to like teachers but some of the kids. They are on the lower end of the pay ladder.

    March 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  35. TexDoc

    Teaching was a part time job, and still is in many parts of the country. When teachers work 9-5 and 50 weeks a year like the rest of us; their will be an increase in pay and presitige.

    March 16, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Oakspar77777

      Teachers teach an 8 hour day (7 to 3), with two weeks vacation (which is calendered in at Xmas and Spring Break – so no optional vacation), and are unemployed two months of the year. Do not think that summer is a blessing – it is two months without work and without pay (spreading 10 paychecks over 12 months does not make 12 paychecks worth of pay). Teachers who do find other employment during the summers cannot find equitable work (how many good jobs are summer jobs).

      March 16, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Tired Teacher

      You spelt "there" wrong. Teaching is not a 7-3 job. If it were a 7-3 job, there would be no graded papers or tests, no after school help or tutoring, no clubs, and at times no lessons. It can be an exhausting and thankless job. If teachers were paid the hourly wage of a babysitter, they would be making over 200,000 a year. Teachers are professionals, with masters degrees in their field and/or in teaching. The good ones should be reconigzed for their successes and the bad ones should find another job.

      March 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • PC

      Teachers work many more hours that the ones they stay at school!! You have no idea of how many hours we have to work at home, on evenings and during the weekends.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • josephine.j

      You used their incorrectly.

      March 17, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Hardworking Teacher

      We do work 40 hours a week. Try grading 145 research papers during a school day. The school day is for teaching. We have to take the rest of our work home where we should be taking care of our family to do our grading and planning. So, Mr. or Ms. PC, try working 50-60 hours a week. I hate how people judge teachers because they assume we do nothing put sit on our butts while our students read "Chapter 7". In my school district, teachers are not allowed to even use cell phones. Until you walk in someone shoes, you should judge them. I don't sit here and judge all of your professions. I am actually preparing high school kids to go out that and be what they dream to be.

      March 17, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • wkwheeler

      Your response included a run-on, and your knowledge of their vs. there also seems a bit weak. Perhaps you're not as intelligent as you like to think. Climb off your soapbox and act civilly, not haughtily.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Karen Kay

      Yep...Interesting ideas. I won't mention your specific grammar issues. My job 8-3. Ha. That' s a joke. I grade papers, prep lessons, and make parent phone calls in the evening. Much of my evenings are spent making sure that I am doing all I can for my 150 students while taking time and any energy I have left away from my own children. The problem is trying to connect with kids that find themselves in sometimes hopeless situations. Grandparents doing their best to raise their grandkids. Hungry kids. Tired kids (mostly from staying up late to play video games) trying to sleep in class. Parents will not parent their kids. Teachers get the blame because parents do not want to turn the mirror on themselves.

      March 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Tom

      I love people that make up their own facts based on myth, conjecture and/or stereotyping.

      What are you smoking first off, the teachers I know personally....all at the very least put in a standard 8 or 9 hours at school, and that doesn't include the time they put in at home preparing lessons, or taking seminars (that are required btw for most teachers - at their own expense) ...

      LOL do you honestly believe most teachers arrive at school 15 mins before the students and go home 15 minutes after the students?.....that's not what the teachers I know do (ok once in a while they might skip out around 3:30...but that's rare).

      And that summers off thing....its so severely misunderstood by most lay people its hilarious.

      Hate to burst your bubble of ignorance but the teachers i know do not get paid during the summer months...AND...while they do relax from teaching mostly all of July....as soon August hits...they are studying the curriculum guides and already planning for september. Its also not uncommon for teachers to take some classes during the summer to get them out of the way for the school year....finally....both teachers I know personally...work part time and "off-school season" jobs during the summer months.

      so yeah hate to ruin your image of teachers just going "cool next three months I just sit on the couch" but no..its really not like that...AT ALL.

      March 19, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  36. Michael.

    The are many recent examples of where someone took a group of poor or under performers and turned them into high achievers you may know examples from own life. Why did they succeed when all others within the system fail? Could it be that at last those students after years of being under teachers they finally came under the influance of an *Educator? One who knew how to inspire them into wanting to learn and showed them how to learn? Who are the greatest obstacles to an Educator being satisfied with their occupation? Teachers! There are far too many teachers and not enough educators. Far too many, and as studies show of the lower SAT scorers, choosing to pursue the easiest degree to obtain. knowing full well that the proffession was already crowded but just having A Degree meant eary entry into many other job markets, no matter how under qualified they are.

    March 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Jason

      Where are the "many" examples you're referencing? You're watching too many feel good movies. The profession is not over crowded, and it's certainly not the easiest degree to obtain. Basically, not one statement you made in your post is accurate or even resembles truth. Why don't you save every person's time and stick to what you know. Better yet, if you think you can do a better job than the teachers in the classroom, why don't you run out and get one of those easy degrees and give it a shot, hero. Maybe they'll make a movie about how you turned around the lives of SO MANY kids.

      March 17, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  37. boom

    The problem is that teachers can no longer just teach. The amount of paper work I see my wife doing every night is ridiculous. If we go on vacation, she is usually stuck in a room doing stuff that has nothing to do with what and/or how she is going to teach the next lesson. Get rid of performance based testing being tied to teachers. Let a third party conduct random evaluations of the teachers, combine that review with a review from their peers along with their supervisors. There are more bad parents than bad teachers. Teachers can't fix stupid. If your kid can't read before Kindergarten, you have already failed in today's world.

    March 16, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • U stuck on stewpid

      Couldn'thave said it better boom

      March 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • BAMAWV#1

      I am picturing a unmarried and rapidly aging teacher, sitting alone watching "Golden Girl" reruns and typing out your post. No one buys that nonsense at all. Why all the teacher bashing? Because it only took a week or two on campus to figure out which building all the dummies flock. Maybe because we think you're up late with paperwork because you spent all day trying to sneak a kid's abortion past her parents. For all intents and purposes, the reason you are working on vacation (if that is true) is because you are slow. HTH

      March 17, 2012 at 1:31 am |
      • PirateJohn

        @BAMA – When you don't know what you're talking about, you really should keep silent. You have no clue what others go through, so you do nothing but make baseless assumptions. Go on believing all that garbage you pulled out of your sphincter, but in the end, reality trumps your idiotic beliefs.

        March 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  38. the truth

    if they were atheist, they would have higher satisfaction

    March 16, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • seriously?

      I'm sorry, but can you elaborate a bit more on that thought?

      March 16, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • U stuck on stewpid

      WTH does being an atheist have to do with job satisfaction? What boom said is totally correct. There are WAY more bad parents and lack of family foundation than bad teachers. Kids in this generation have no respect for themselves, let alone teachers. It's ashame that teachers, who is vested in their careers, can lose their JOB if a kid, who REALLY don't want to be in school ANYWAY don't perform well on a standardized, bias test. It's ludicrous! What the suit and ties don't understand is teaching/learning begins at home. If learning is important in the home, the kid will mostly take ownership of their learning and the teachers won't have to stress and lose interest in a profession they love.

      March 16, 2012 at 12:47 pm |