A recently-released study from the Center of Education Policy suggests that K-12 teachers are highly unsatisfied with their chosen profession.
Of the 3,328 teachers who sent in responses to the survey of K-12 public school teachers, almost half, 49%, said they would consider leaving their chosen field altogether if it meant they could have a higher-paying job.
Maria Ferguson, executive director for the Washington D.C.-based center, said the results show that teachers are “constantly feeling yanked in a million different directions.”
The report, “Listen to Us: Teacher Views and Voices,” found that not only are teachers unhappy with the low pay they receive, but they also expressed frustration with the over-emphasis placed on standardized testing and an inability to have their voices heard at both the state and federal levels.
In all, 60% of respondents said their enthusiasm for teaching had significantly dropped since they first entered the field, with 62% saying they spend more time prepping students for standardized tests mandated by the state than they do actually teaching. Even more teachers, 81%, felt students are spending too much time taking those tests.
Teachers are not the only ones to show frustration over standardized testing. Recently appointed US Education Secretary John King, Jr. recently said although the No Child Left Behind Act aimed to improve students’ math and reading skills, it took away the ability to obtain a full, well-rounded education.
While the report found 64% of teachers saying that they like their school and are part of a “satisfied group” of teachers, 49% said the stress and disappointments they feel while on the job “aren’t really worth it.” Results found 49% of teachers would leave their positions “as soon as possible” if a higher-paying job was found.
An additional 42% of teachers agreed with the statement, “I think about staying home from school because I am just too tired to go.”
Meanwhile, a staggering 94% said they did not feel their voices were heard at either the federal or state levels.
The majority of teachers reported having a strained relationship with administration. Over half, 51%, said the evaluations they had received for the 2014-15 school year were “minimally or not at all helpful.”
It was not all bad news, however. The survey did find that teachers are happy with their peers and find collaboration to be one of the largest determinants of their success.
According to the report, most teachers said they chose to collaborate with teachers of the same subject or grade level. Of those who said they collaborated, 90% found the efforts to be somewhat or greatly helpful, calling it a good use of their time.
However, overall the report suggests that the profession as a whole is in need of support from all areas.
“Although teachers report being drawn to the profession for mostly selfless reasons, many are concerned or frustrated about aspects of their job. And although a majority of teachers say they like their school and are part of a satisfied group of colleagues, about half or more agree with statements that indicate diminished enthusiasm, high stress, and a desire to leave the profession if they could get a higher-paying job.”