How Bad Education Policies Demoralize Teachers
Adapted from John Rosales Feb. 2012 article in "NEA Today"
Bad Ed policies created with the good intention of improving instruction and learning are resulting in demoralized teachers. Rigid educational reforms are removing the joy and value from the art of teaching.Teachers today are suffering from a high level of frustration and and a feeling of hopelessness. Too many dedicated and talented individuals are being driven out of the profession.
The rewards of teaching are embedded in the work of teaching. They go beyond the questions surrounding student achievement and include finding ways to connect meaningfully with our students and using our teaching talent to improve the lives of others. When the most important work of teaching is forced to change without any evidence such change is for the better, teachers question the value of their work and too often become demoralized.
Research done by Doris Santoro, shows that it is not one single event or policy that leads to demoralization, but a compilation of mandates that change the character of a teachers work. Education policies that demand scripted lessons, mandate curriculum content regardless of students' academic needs and learning style and require high stakes testing make teachers feel they are complicit in doing more harm than good for their students.
Demoralization is not a personal problem. It can not be avoided individually. Demoralization indicates a problem within the profession. It is the work of education that has changed not the failure of individual teachers. We must all identify, challenge, resist and impede those policies that do not improve instruction and substantially improve the lives of our students.