“Your health and time aren’t worth to bear with what goes on within the four walls of the classroom! In addition there is no career development! ”. This is what my parents used to tell on my idea to become a teacher some years ago. They still consider teaching in secondary schools as a troublesome and complicated job with no prosperous future. Indeed, teaching is a difficult task and has its challenges.
Teachers are precariously intensified. Open-endedness of this profession makes teachers work ten months a year without any break. Great accountability to parents and administration, responsibilities as a social worker, care for students are all part of the teachers’ work. Also, because of the knowledge explosion and students’ high expectations teachers are supposed to be the most skilled and flexible. Innovations and integration of new technology into teaching exacerbate the overload problem as well. Consequently, unconformity of workload and salary (which can be considered as another challenge) leads to superficial performance and poor quality of teaching. Hargreaves (1994) states, “intensification reduces area of discretion, inhibits involvement in and control over longer-term planning” (p.118). Moreover, intensification raises the feeling of guilt in teachers: a sense of having done something badly and being professionally unproductive.
Moreover, traditionally teaching has been a relatively ‘flat’ career (Fullan and Hargreaves, 2010, p.19). The only way to expand teacher’s role in school is to move away from the classroom into administration. However, not every teacher has a chance to become an administrator. Therefore teachers spend many years in a classroom usually without substantial outside stimulation what consequently reduces commitment, motivation and effectiveness. Good ideas and innovations developed by individual teachers are often not supported and refused due to the finance shortage and prescribed curriculum. Thus, spending years preforming the same role may be really diminishing.
To sum up, teaching has its challenges as any other professions do. However, teachers should take initiatives themselves, not just in requiring better conditions and insisting unreasonable demands, but also in making constructive improvements of their own. Only then there will be a lot of great teachers, who despite any problems, will make schools more interesting places to be.
Fullan, M. & Hargreaves, A. (2010). What’s Worth Fighting For in Your School? Berkshire: Open University Press
Hargreaves, A. (1995). Changing Teachers, Changing Times. Teachers’ Work and Culture in the Postmodern Age. London: Cassell.