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the painful truth about teaching....


dan k.

currently,in my tenth year of teaching i have come to the following realization. Teaching is an frustrating,embarrasing,demeaning job due to several factors.
First-as a grade six teacher in a low socio-econ. school, i find as years pass so does student motivation.Not only kids -but how about the lousy pathetic parents who barely involve themselves in their child education.

The second reason is that 97 percent of all administrators are major #######S who want nothing more than for you to be as miserable as they are.One can be an awesome educator with proven results and dedication,but low and behold if the administrator decides they want to pick on you for no reason you become the #####. Truly,tenure means nothing as a principal can find many things if they look hard enough to criticize and break you down...and really what can you do-certainly not tell them to ####-off. So really this leads me to the obvious...Be a really good ass-kisser so your boss doesn`t fire you.

pretty pathetic for a job that pays far less than a garbage man and letter carrier---why oh why did i let my wife talk me in to this job.

Pardon my language and spelling my fellow educators...but i feel that strong language is neccessary to make my point(s)

any thoghts,

dan k.


Senior Member

you asked for thoughts...here are mine:

GET OUT! you obviously don't care for the job--everyone should love what they do (your students deserve this, too!) why would anyone select a career because their spouse suggested it?


Senior Member

You seemed to be burned out. I was like that a few years ago and then was laid off because my school closed. I subbed for a year because I didn't find a teaching job. There are about 250 applications for each job that opens in elementary. Schools private and public are closing by the handfuls each year in St. Louis.

I really needed that full time year off and came back with a bang last year. I hate the pay ($28,000 catholic school, masters and 9 years of teaching) but I love teaching and the kids,

If you are really that unhappy, get out for your sanity and the sake of your students. They can really tell if you want to be there or not.

Yes, teaching can be a frustrating, embarrassing, and demeaning job but there are so many more positives like helping kins, and being a part of the future and doing something that makes a difference.

I have taught in a low socio economic school for 6 years before it closed. I was a teacher, janitor and part time cafeteria worker not to mention the art teacher for my class. I worked my butt off and it was in a very dangerous neighborhood. A meth lab next to the school blew up on day.

Many of the kids didn't speak english and many of their parent couldn't help them with 3rd grade homework but it was the most rewarding 6 years of my life.

I agree that administrators can be pains in the butt at times but they are not there to be my friend. They are there to oversee the running of the school. If my administraor is having a bad day, I keep away from her and the office as much as possible.

You mentioned that your wife talked you into this job. You have done it for 10 years apparently there was something that you found rewarding about it.

My recommendation is to make a list of all of the good thing and bad things that go along with teaching. Make a decision that you can live with and either get out or keep teaching. You have control of your future. You have to do what you feel is right for you and your health and happiness.

But before you quit, I would have a job lined up with benefits. Also is you quit mid year, they can hold your teaching license and may not give you a recommendation for another job. This caould also hurt you if you later decided taht teaching was for you. Please take this break to think it out, and discuss it with your wife and family before you abandon teaching.


Senior Member
Have you been in the same school for the past ten years? If so, why haven't you gotten out of there? There is little you can do about apathetic parents as they are present in all schools - but more in a low socio-economic school, I am sure. You could go to a private or parochial school where the parents are more involved, but the trade-off is a lower salary.

But to stay in a school system with the type of administrators you describe makes absolutely no sense. Although I teach in a parochial school, with a high percentage of supportive parents and administrators, my son teaches in a public school. He has a very supportive principal and vice-principal. Most of the parents are pretty supportive, too. I have friends in the same situation, so I know they exist.

Now is the time to start looking - either for a new school or a new position. I would not quit until you find one as I am sure you need your benefits, but you need to be proactive. Feeling as you do, you probably are not being as effective with your students and this could well effect for mental and physical health.


Senior Member
move on....

I spent 6 years in a similiar district. It was a very small community in a 3rd generation welfare area near Mexico. Everyone knew and/or was related to everyone in the community. All we were allowed to teach was the state test. My principal had no imagination and didn't support anything that didn't have to do with the test. She was terrified of losing her job, and often took things out on us, though we were loyal to her. The parents in the community didn't like her because her standards were a lot higher than the person who had been the previous principal. They often ganged up on her at board meetings, including the one immediately after her father's death.

The kids were apathetic, the staff was burned out, and the only time you really heard from parents was whenever you said something they thought was unacceptable--it's amazing what they would call and complain about.

We were not allowed to have any sort of high standards for the kids, and if too many failed, we would be called down to the superintendent's office for a discussion about the bell curve. The parents in the community would occasionally gang up on a teacher and tried to get him/her fired.

After 6 years I felt completely demoralized and feared that I would end up giving up. I did not sign my next contract and relocated to a different part of the state, figuring I would give teaching another year or two in my new area before deciding to get out of it.

The change of schools was what I needed. I love teaching and can't imagine doing anything else. I even got through an incredibily tough year without burning out.

I read somewhere that often the cure for teacher burn out if change. Maybe it's the school that's killing you. Not all schools or districts are like that.


Senior Member

Yes, teaching is a struggle, and I can definitely understand why so many people quit after only a couple of years. However, where you work can really change your situation. My administrators are great, and so are the parents. The pay does stink, but nobody is in teaching for the money. If you always feel the way you do in your post, I think you need a new job at a new school, or you need to find another profession. It's unfair to your students to show up at school every day feeling this way.

Ms. Tired

agree with you


Thanks for posting the truth about what many of us go through on a day to day basis. I am in a school very similar to yours. The principal lets her favorite teachers make all the decisions in the school.

I have a class with 8 title one students, 2 special ed, 2 who receive 1 hour counseling in school, 8 who see the guidance counselor on a regular basis--while I have no problem with kids who are academically lower, or need help--this class has so many other things going on that school is the last thing on their mind and quite frankly their parents--except when I do the wrong thing.

I want to get out of this school. The only thing that is holding me there is that I have a great team-teaching partner. He is going to be retiring soon and I will definitely have to get out.

I am feeling burned out. I am not sure if another school will do the trick or not. I am quite frankly tired of gettting by on this pathetic salary (only $30,000--after 7 years) and having to work another job to be able to have anything. Also, when do you get to stop thinking about your job as a teacher? I am on my Christmas vacation, but I need to think about what activities I will be starting after vacation. I wish I had the answer or an idea of a different job to go to. What will happen when we don't have any qualified teachers left to teach the children of America???


Senior Member
the name of this thread is "VENT"

Dan, I'm glad you felt comfortable enough with us strangers to say what is on your mind in the section called VENT. Letting off steam and telling your feelings doesn't mean you can't find strength to get up and do it again. I also must deal with an unfair administrator who has pets. This is a tough year for me as well. I still think teaching is an awesome profession despite the major pains NCLB and a comfortable cliquish administration.

I attended a funeral the other day and the minister said that one of his greatest blessings other than being a husband and dad was being a minister. I started to think how I needed to adjust my attitude about my job and that it is a blessing to be a teacher and affect so many lives. Sorry you're underpaid, but in my community, I make more money than most females (not all) I know. I also appreciate the perks of weekends off (I still work on weekends lots of times), holidays and weeks off sporadically.

Maybe you would be happier as a guidance counsellor, media specialist, or (gulp) in administration. You might consider setting some goals to improve your situation, including finding another school to teach in. My husband also teaches and he had a terrible year in a terrible school with terrible administration and now he has moved to another school system. The administration is much better, but he's teaching intensive reading to high schoolers who never learned to read and he hates it. hard to find a perfect fit.

My advice is to set some goals to improve your situation. Either get qualified to work in another area of education or possibly change schools.

Lotsa Luck

dan k.

thanks for the great responses....

and i must say that i do love the art form of teaching and nothing makes me feel better to help students of mine grasp a difficult concept.

That said,i still feel that the problem and negativism surrounding the teaching profession lies with incompetent,scared,and to quickly to scold administrators,who i feel destroy any positive energy a teacher has for their students.

And of course the obvious fact is that after 10 years of being called a professional by society i am unable to own things for myself and my 2 kids that should be afforded to someone who has a masters degree and some level of prestige.

I know as teachers we are all in the same boat and i sympathize with myself and the hard working teachers of america who are under-appreciated by society as a whole.

Lastly,i feeel that as long as we have leaders like Governer Scwarzenneger trying to make the lives of teachers more miserable by passing prop 74 in california,we will always be the scapegoats for legislators,administrators and the disgruntled general public.

thanks again for your great responses...and of course a happy,healthy new year to all..


Full Member
I'm with you, Dan!

And to those of you telling him to get out - much easier said than done. Just because we go through this and feel this way does not mean that we don't love what we do. I am very passionate about my career. But, it's very frustrating not being paid your worth. And to those of you saying that we're not in it for the money - of course we are, sillies - how else would we pay our bills. Would you really do this job for nothing?

I personally love being with kids and love teaching more than anything in the world - but I am sick and tired of working for school districts and being demeaned and treated like crap - not like a professional (by admin, students, and parents). I'm tired of my intelligence and judgement being questioned by both students and parents. I'm tired of co-workers who think they are better than you even though they have the same certifications and make the SAME amount of money - and none of us will ever be promoted! It does not exist in this field. I'm tired of not wanting to get a master's degree because it costs more than I will ever make back! OR at least TAKE FOREVER to make back!

I have many friends with and without degrees who work 9-5 professional jobs and are treated as professionals and make TONS more money! Yes, some put in more than 40 hours, and you know what - most don't! And most did start out making the same amount teachers do, but QUICKLY advance and earn promotions for the work that they do and the time that they put in!

If I could find a job that would start me at what I am making now - I would leave teaching. However, to leave teaching and to move to the business world I would take a pay cut - you would take the pay of a person just out of college and I can't afford to make ends meet on what I am making now, much less 5 thousand a year less!

My advice is for TEACHERS to START STANDING up for WHAT we are WORTH so we are not taken advantage of anymore by the government!


to giggles

I think your comments were on target, but what you didn't factor in are the benefits of much time off. I worked in business for 20+ years before making the career change to teaching. I believe that if you changed the school year, stating teachers must work 50 weeks a year, that's when we'd see a real treacher shortage. I'm feeling upbeat now that we've hit the portion of the year when we can rejuvenate every 6-7 weeks. It's hard to stand up for what you know you're worth when our student's parents are working 50 weeks a year.


Full Member
vacation time

My husband just had 3 weeks of paid vacation after spending 5 years at a company. I believe we work just the same amount of time - teachers just cram it all into 10 months. Personally - I'd rather have the opportunity to take a few long weekends, or leave the office early to run errands, or come in late because of a doctor's appt. without having to worry about leaving plans and materials for the sub and worrying whether it all went ok - or if one of my angels fell off a chair and knocked his teeth out (and left blood all over the floor - which did happen once by the way).

Basically, from what I have seen from my friends, is that they have a lot of flexibility in their work schedule, whereas, teachers don't have the same amount. We can't get up and go pee for crying out loud, for fear of a lawsuit from a parent for not supervising kids. Or have a decent time period to eat our lunch in.

I know in the business world you have work pile up on you, etc. when you are out - maybe it's that flexibility that I want so badly.

Also, I think I just dont feel challeneged anymore - I'm bored.

And right now, with no kids, I would gladly work through the summer if they paid me what my time was worth. I think teachers would be much more prepared for the school year ahead of them!!!

Teach 5

Senior Member
more on this

For more on this topic you should read Teachers Have It Easy, The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America's Teachers by Daniel Moulthrop, Ninive Clements Calegari, & Dave Eggers. It's a well written book all about this topic. It also illustrates how teachers work "harder" than many other professions. Having to be "ON" all the time isn't considered as it is in other careers that have that high level of being on such as air-traffic control. It's a great read with lots of info. & many sides to the picture. It talks about how some teachers have decided to stay even with the low salaries, etc. & how many are leaving, even ones that would rather stay. Please read it!


Change of scenery

Dan, thanks for the honesty. Teaching can be so rewarding, but at times it can be very difficult. I think someone else suggested a change. I am at that point at this juncture of my career. I am in a Title 1 school and have been for the past 7 years. I love the children--so many needs; however, I am deeply disappointed at the quality of administrators we receive. Each year I think, "It can't get worse." Well, it does and it has for too long. So, since our county office seems hell-bent on assigning only the poorest quality admin staff at our place and I have no control over that...I will change what I can. I can change were I will be next year. Think about it for yourself. A fresh start with new faces and a new school culture may make all the difference. Good luck!


Teaching is a struggle

In response to SC's response it is apparent that life is lived in a fantasy world. it is not the teacher's responsibility to raise other people's children. There are so many parents who are not educated themselves and that is the reason for many if not all children who come to school with the intent not to be anything but a problem.