November 22, 2021

Which comes first: irritability or insomnia? As a retired teacher, I still remember those days when angry parent email rants kept me from getting any sleep. Or well-meaning administration asking me to continually “reflect” (the most obnoxious word known to educators) on my teaching decisions, making me toss and turn preparing an appropriate response. 

But then there were the days I just woke up mad. I loved teaching and had for decades. However, something changed in the past 20 years. It’s taken me a few years, post retirement, to figure it out. I now know what those changes are and how they affect our culture in general and teachers, specifically. I think you can guess the first two.

The Internet and Email

Fast delivery ideas or comments, with no thought process attached and usually sent by those humans who hate in person confrontation but love a good one-sided rant.

Social Media

Multiple platforms designed for communication but hijacked by today’s purveyors of spin, ideology and deliberate misinformation. One of the prime instruments in today’s 21st century bullying, by both adults and kids, dismisses ideas and demeans anyone who does not conform to the ideology of the day.

Reality TV

Surprise! This shiny new genre appeared in the early 1990’s. In my estimation, this one invention has the most negative influence on our culture. Why? Where did our children (and their parents) learn shouting expletives, getting in someone’s face and demanding the right to talk over any thought which was construed as different? What our culture either forgot or never made an effort to research is that Reality TV is scripted to sell the genre to audiences who love to live vicariously through the caricatures of these so called “real” people and their fantasy events.

Teaching has always been challenging. The educator must have the following daily attributes, in order of importance:

  1. clear and concise classroom and time management
  2. sound subject pedagogy
  3. communication skills with colleagues, administration, parents and students both written and verbal 
  4. unconditional love and compassion for all children
  5. thick skin, dedicated determination to stay the course and not quit on those days when all of the above appear to mount a battle of discontentment, doubt and disrespect towards the human trying to teach

Now add Covid 19 to the mix of email, social media and reality tv. We can no longer sit on our derrières ,throw our hands up in frustration and wonder why teachers are leaving the profession in greater numbers than ever before. In my research of teacher shortages, school districts are hiring student teachers, paraprofessionals and yes, even custodians as substitute teachers. According to EducationWeek’s survey of teachers nationally, when asked about the likelihood that they’ll leave teaching in the next two years, 54 percent of teachers said they are “somewhat” or “very likely” to do so.

What is my life’s purpose? I fell into incredible circumstances when I was forced out of teaching by an over zealous administration and some colleagues who wanted me gone. I will spend the remainder of my life being a fierce advocate for teachers. The loss of America’s teachers in such high numbers must be a concern for the nation! I’m Paula Baack, the author of Rescue the Teacher, Save the Child! Check out my book for viable solutions to retain America’s teachers. TUNE IN SOON. Here’s a tease: How to get sleep on those nights of discontentment. 

PLEASE SHARE THIS LINK WITH ANY AND ALL . If you’re experiencing unfair practices in your teaching position, please reach out to me at rescuetheteacher @yahoo.com

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