Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Cause of Teacher Stress

Society is constantly changing and that change can bring about a huge amount of stress for people who get caught in the middle of it all.  Teachers often suffer from stress due to the constantly changing pressures and expectations put on them by administrators, parents, and governmental interference.  The main cause of the stress that teachers suffer from in adapting to these changes is that they are seldom given the resources or the training to deal with the new changes plus a great many of the changes forced upon teachers are often not well thought out and not brought about by teachers.

The changes are often brought about by task force groups that are made up of people who really do not know much about teaching.  Those people who serve on the task forces who were once teachers have forgot what it was like to stand in a class of 25 to 30 students in an ill equipped and often overcrowded room.  The students are usually apathetic about learning but could be reached if teachers were allowed to teach in a creative way instead of just teaching toward a test that does little to assess a students performance and more about giving a school a rating that merely tells us that a student can take one particular test on one particular day by using strategies they learned at the expense of a real curriculum.

Teachers are starting to feel more and more detached from the team that was once empowered to work for the betterment of their students.  Today, teachers feel the constant bombardment of media criticism as well as an administration that has been easily swayed by governmental pressures to believe in standardized testing over real education.  This leads to a feeling of isolation, or "me against the world."

Only when No Child Left Behind goes away and is replaced by something that gives teaching back to the teachers and provides the support and resources it once had will the levels of stress among teachers drop.  Will that happen soon?  Unlikely. States are feeling the pinch of the economic disaster the country has been in for the past few years.  Teachers are losing their jobs by the thousands but the number of students stay the same.  That means that less teachers will have to teach more students and will still be expected to ensure that those students perform above yearly progress on all of those tests that have changed our profession so deeply.  Will change ever happen? Probably some day, when everyone sees what a farce No Child Left Behind was and understands that we need to give education back to the people who can do it best, the teachers.