Help Wanted: teacher

This month’s topic of discussion here at the TeachersCount blog is focused on retention and recruitment of teachers. How do we find the people that want to dedicate their lives to teaching? How do we make sure these people stay in the education field? How do we reward good teachers? These are all heavy questions with answers that could foster spirited debate.
However, I am going to propose that we do nothing.
Yes, nothing.
Here’s why:

I feel that the people who are truly called to the education field are just that, CALLED. Education is a vocation, just as being called to be a priest or a nun is a vocation.
I don’t believe that we should entice people into this career path. We don’t want to lure people with the promises of high salaries (HA!) or lavish expense accounts (HA! HA!). We want educators who are truly in this field for all the right reasons. Reasons that involve making a difference in the life of a child, teaching a child how to read and write, being a mentor to a classroom of extremely needy children day after day. We can’t make the classroom glamorous. As a teacher, I love my job. Don’t get me wrong. But it is not a job for everyone and it certainly is far from glamorous. I love that I get to spend my days tinkering with science experiments, throwing a football around at recess, laughing with my class about an inside joke, and even traveling the city and country for various field trips. (Next week I’ll tell you about the week I will spend on a ranch in Wyoming with four of my students and 12 other students from across Chicago.)
I was called to this field of education. I knew from the time I was in 2nd grad that I wanted to be a teacher. Teaching was always the goal and I didn’t have to be recruited into this field.

Certainly this is not the same path that everyone takes. However, a true teacher is called from the heart. And that’s not something that we can recruit.

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One thought on “Help Wanted: teacher

  1. I believe I have a calling to teach and valuing education is my lifeblood. However, I disagree. It is a profession that needs recruitment and better preparation for its student teachers. If not, then the profession will continue to have a high turn-over rate. It’s not a glamorous profession. It’s hard work. But I had to leave since all that hard work often meant neglecting other areas of my life, which is not healthy. And for how hard teachers work, I don’t think it’s asking too much to be paid on par with other educated professions. Yes, teachers make a profound difference, but the system is not set-up to meet its full potential of truly educating all students.

    So I guess I feel a calling doesn’t have to last a lifetime if a person realizes that the time and energy required are not worth it in the end if they can’t get the respect that the profession deserves. I recently had a parent of a former student verbally attack me on FB and it’s clear how little teachers are valued by society. And yes, it’s obvious I’m working through my issues with leaving the profession!

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