There is nothing like the enthusiasm, excitement and passion of a beginning teacher. They arrive early and leave late, they take work home and they are consumed with their class. You can see them a mile off with their wide smile, glowing skin and gentle way they interact with students. Beginning teachers bring a passion like no other, a passion that is deep, and a passion that has significant impact on how and who they are as a teacher.
Fast forward around 5-7 (or more) years and something has happened. Our passionate, beginning teachers have been replaced by new beginning teachers, and their passion it seems has been handed down to the new teachers. The same passion a beginning teacher has is clearly not sustainable, it almost seems to have an expiry date and is replaced with a new set of traits. These traits resemble that of someone who is unhappy, someone who has lost their passion and someone who is distracted with the daily busyness, making it hard focus on why they became a teacher in the first place.
It seems once the beginning teacher passion has fled, teachers replace it with an uncanny skill to teach on auto-pilot (how can this happen if every class and every student is different?), they get distracted by the daily admin and compliance tasks, which can be done quickly if focused on instead of put off, and they engage in endless hours of whining and complaining about things they have to do, things that are their job, things that used to be part of their passion.
So why does this happen? In my opinion, there are few reasons. We know the curriculum is ever increasing, and becoming more crowded with things that once didn’t exist, or that once sat with parents. The needs of students are becoming more complex and diverse in a single class, making it difficult for teachers to teach the curriculum outcomes but also modify it for those who need to access learning below and above their year level curriculum targets. Finally, the paperwork and admin tasks teachers are required to complete, at times, have no impact on their day to day teaching tasks.
With all these things and more impacting on a teacher’s job, I am asking ‘What have we done for our teachers? All of the above are being demanded by people on the outside of the classroom, yet noting is coming in the classroom. Where is the extra support, time or resources to help implement and deliver the new demands? It doesn’t exist.
We are losing up to 50% of our beginning teachers, not because of the above demands, but because of the lack of support. Because our teachers, who once parked their car each day and jumped out with excitement, planned with passion and taught with enthusiasm, are now so consumed with all the extras, and feel so unsupported, they can’t handle it.
Is it any wonder our teachers are losing their passion, surviving the day on autopilot or getting caught up complaining about their job? I personally don’t think so.
We need to start asking ‘What about the teachers?’ Who is supporting them to be their best, so they in return, can support the students to be their best?
This is my mission. This is what I am giving to you. Let’s work together to get back your passion, motivation and love for teaching so again you can love your life!