In the article “12 Seriously Stressful Jobs,” Miranda Marquit lists teaching as being 5th most stressful job in America. Do you know what are 1-4? A combat soldier, air traffic controller, firefighter and coal miner are the only people who have more stressful jobs than a teacher.
I was a teacher many years ago before the digital age. I don’t remember ever getting to anything that I wanted to do. I never watched TV or read books that weren’t required for my job. I stayed up past 11:00 PM and was up before 6:00 AM every weekday. And in the summers, I had to attend workshops and trainings to be able to renew my license.
Today, thanks to many excessive bureaucratic regulations, the hoops teachers must jump through far exceed any that were required for teachers in the 90’s. Therefore teacher attrition rate is at an all-time high. The Alliance for Excellent Education states that turnover is especially high for new teachers. They estimate 40 to 50 percent of new teachers leave the profession within 5 years. This is what happens when politicians make the rules for what educators can and cannot do in their classrooms. To become a coveted “highly effective teacher,” there are so many t’s to cross and i’s to dot that it is no wonder teachers leave the profession in droves. I have personally had several highly-acclaimed teacher friends with 30+ years of experience threaten to leave the profession because of the stress of all the new regulations.
However, it is not the goal of this Labor Day article to try to fix the current woes in education. Our goal is to say “Thank-you” to all the educators in Tennessee. In many states, school does not even start until after Labor Day, but Tennessee teachers have been at it for weeks now. We at the Professional Educators of Tennessee acknowledge the selfless job teachers do every day on behalf of the world’s future laborers. We also want to thank the military, firefighters and policeman for protecting us in many unenviable situations (and who, collectively, never get a day off). And we give an extra big “Thank-you” to the others workers who have to work on Labor Day such as health-care workers, and restaurant and retail employees. Thank you for what you do for the rest of us who enjoy a day off. While you are enjoying the holiday, please remember to thank those around you who provide a service to you and your family. And definitely, give your child’s teacher the accolades he/she deserves.
Bethany Bowman is the Director of Professional Learning for Professional Educators of Tennessee, a non-partisan teacher association headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author and the association are properly cited. For more information on this subject or any education issue please contact Professional Educators of Tennessee. To schedule an interview please call 1-800-471-4867