We often think of teaching as a lifelong profession, with educators taking up post in a classroom and staying there for 30 years. But did you know that the teaching profession has the highest burnout rate of all public service careers?
An article in the November/December issue of THE Journal, titled “Combating Teacher Burnout,” reveals that the average new teacher tenure is three to five years, and that Gen-Y teachers (those under 30) account for one fifth of the workforce. Education policies and practices focus on student achievement and learning gains, while studies show that teacher turnover costs districts approximately 7 billion dollars a year.
The article also notes a study by the American Federation of Teachers and the American Institutes for Research, which found what teachers want most: time to collaborate, differentiated pay for high performance, and technology not only to provide engaging lessons, but for peer collaboration, such as video conferencing.
Education technology also provides teachers a method to quantify learning gains, give feedback to parents and administrators, and improve communication. Teachers who feel that they have, and are, making a difference in the lives of their students, often stay for just that reason. The intrinsic value of knowing your choice of career has changed lives can offset some of the profession’s stressors.
That being said, wouldn’t it be great if we all could take two minutes to remember a teacher who really did make a difference in our lives? Sometimes we relate a story to a friend about school and a particular teacher or coach, but it never gets back to the subject. I’ll bet you could find some of your teachers on Facebook (or your children’s teachers) who you know made a difference, and thank them personally and wish them a happy holiday season. That’s another way technology can help combat teacher burnout!