Whether you are a new teacher or you've been teaching for years, expectations put on teachers year after year are not making your job any easier!
Tell me if this rings true for you:
You walk into your classroom, either for the first time ever, or perhaps at the start of September after a summer "off" (because we all know that summer is actually just an opportunity to get caught up on the new curriculum you're expected to deliver in the fall...), and you think "okay, I'm ready this year. I've got the new curriculum down, I've printed all of my resources, many of which I created from scratch! and now I'm excited to meet my students!"
The sound of your email alert. You sit down and open the newest email from your admin already talking about the September's professional development day and asking for teachers to consider signing up for workshops related to curriculum delivery. Or cultural awareness in the classroom. Or social-emotional well-being. Or self-care. Or online/remote learning. Or Indigenizing education. Or *insert newest teaching expectation here.* Now you're thinking "okay, but when will I have time to also be *there* for my students?!"
Suddenly you're faced with the realization of how much is expected of you. Maybe you teach math or science, or maybe you're like me and you teach an elective (where are my fellow theatre teachers at?!), but either way, you realize that curriculum is only half the battle. Actually, you realize that curriculum is the EASY part!
As education changes, teachers are expected to wear many hats at an increasing rate, and teacher retention is an ever present challenge. Though statistics on teacher attrition range anywhere from 30%-50% (Hanna and Pennington, 2015; Priorities for Public Education, 2017) leaving the profession after only 5 years (Garcia and Weiss, 2019), for a profession that demands a minimum of 5 years of post-secondary education, clearly teachers are overwhelmed!
Who wouldn't be?!
I have taught in elementary, middle, and high school, to youth in custody, to pregnant and parenting teen moms, and in inner city schools. I have created and delivered therapeutic drama therapy groups to suicidal teens and teens experiencing anxiety and depression. I have run Cognititve-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) based groups for youth struggling with OCD and moderate to severe anxiety. I have done one-to-one counselling using Solution Focused, Narrative Therapy, Response Based Therapy, CBT, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), and Motivational Interviewing for youth in inpatient addictions treatment and in outreach to youth struggling to attend school due to severe mental health concerns. Believe me, I have worn A LOT OF HATS! And my big secret is - I often feel like I'm still figuring it out too!
There are many things that current educators are expected to do that they feel unequipped for; things that teacher college never told you about your dream profession! (Though at times it definitely feels more like an awake nightmare...)
That's why I'm here! I see how hard you're working! I see your passion! and I want to help you navigate the demands on the Contemporary Educator!
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Garcia, E. and Weiss, E. (2019, April 16). U.S. Schools struggle to Hire and Retain Teachers: The second report in the 'perfect storm in the teacher labor market series.' Retrieved from: https://www.epi.org/publication/u-s-schools-struggle-to-hire-and-retain-teachers-the-second-report-in-the-perfect-storm-in-the-teacher-labor-market-series/
Hanna, R. and Pennington, K. (2015, Jan.8), Despite Reports to the Contrary, New Teachers Are Staying in Their Jobs Longer. Retrieved from: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education-k-12/news/2015/01/08/103421/despite-reports-to-the-contrary-new-teachers-are-staying-in-their-jobs-longer/
Priorities for Public Education (2017, Aug.) Recruitment, Retention, and Mentorship of Teachers. Retrieved from: https://bctf.ca/publications/BriefSection.aspx?id=46988