Being a teacher is HARD. Whether you’re just starting or have taught for decades, teachers everywhere in the world are faced with similar challenges. The obstacles you encounter can arise from many directions: with students, parents, administrators, or with the many roles and responsibilities you have to maintain.
We took note of your comments on our Facebook page about what problems you experience from day-to-day and compiled a list of the top issues that kept coming up again and again. Because while teaching might be a joy, that doesn’t mean it’s not a headache. Sometimes, you just need to vent — and laugh it off with lots and lots of GIFs.
Here’s our list of the top eight challenges faced by teachers in 2018.
1. Lack of teamwork, empathy, and support between students
With a stronger focus on individual student performance, many teachers feel that teamwork doesn’t play an important enough role in classrooms. If students spend the majority of their time working individually, they don’t get the opportunity to better their social and teamwork skills. These are especially important to develop in elementary and middle school.
2. Teachers working too many roles at the same time
Social worker, psychoeducator, and counselor represent only a few of the hats that teachers are expected to wear throughout the day. In order to help their students, they feel compelled to adopt these roles themselves even though they don’t have the proper training. They still do it, though, because they care.
3. No time to deal with bodily functions!
All throughout the day, teachers must jump from one task to the next and are often forced to neglect their own bodies. There are no bathroom or water breaks for teachers; sometimes they don’t have a lunch break at all.
4. Teachers being made accountable for more than they should
Teachers don’t feel the accountability is shared equally between them, students, and parents. This can create a tense atmosphere. It’s also difficult to express this feeling to parents with diplomacy. But when parent night comes, ready or not, teachers put their game face on.
5. Not enough time to plan
Teachers often decry the lack of time they are given to prepare, plan and execute all the tasks that are demanded of them. Updating content presentations and documents, correcting older material, and adapting subjects to a new cohort of students are some of the tasks that teachers would like more time for.
6. Excessive paperwork for data collection
In order to build reliable statistics, school and district administrations ask that teachers compile large amounts of data, such as grades and student growth indicators like SEL and collaboration. Teachers have difficulty with this because of the additional time it requires and the fact that, once again, it takes precious time away from preparing quality content for their students.
7. Keeping up with the expectations of school admins
A lot of teachers feel that more and more is expected of them from their school’s (or district’s) administration: offer constant support to the students, keep a line of communication open with parents, give more personalized help to students who need more attention to succeed, and so on.
While teachers do want to provide the best support to their students, they maintain that they don’t receive enough paid time to do so. Access to specialized personnel and more time outside of class are some of the suggested ways to improve support and meet those increasing expectations.
8. Applying a prescribed curriculum to all types of students
Ask any teacher, and they will tell you: Every student is different. They learn at different speeds, and they each have their own way of taking in content and remembering it.
Problems arise when teachers are expected to apply a fixed curriculum to students with vastly different needs. Adapting lessons to students and tailoring content to their needs takes time, which is in short supply.
If we distill these challenges to the major areas of school life that cause teachers the most difficulty, a common theme emerges: Teachers want better tools to communicate with students and parents, help with classroom management, and resources that will save them time in tailoring content to their students.
Did we miss any? We all understand that there are challenges in the classroom. Tell us in the comments below what gets you fired up — and why you still love your job.
Photo credit: Phovoir / Shutterstock.com; Giphy.com