The Incredible Disappearing Teacher

Why I tell bright young people to avoid a career in education.

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Teacher burnout and attrition

This isn’t how I feel all the time, but more often than I did a few years ago. The irony is I used to think burnout would never happen to me. But here we are. More importantly, my new mindset doesn’t fit with the mission of my institution. Not their official one.

Anyone can teach, right?

Almost everyone thinks they can teach, because they’ve never seen quality instruction in action. This myth alone might explain the root of our problems. It creates a vicious cycle of decreased funding and increased testing. Many politicians on state and federal education committees don’t have a college degree, but they make laws about how we should teach.

Teachers on food stamps

The average person simply can’t make a living as a teacher anymore. Not even as a professor. Your only chance is to gun for a top position at a research university. That means placing all your eggs in a little basket, then throwing your basket off a building and hoping it lands in the bushes.

Public perception vs. reality

The general public thinks professors make a ton of money. If you google “professor salary,” you’ll find averages anywhere from $80–$150K. But averages are misleading. Faculty in economics, business, or engineering make almost twice what I do.

A world without teachers

Boohoo, I guess. It was my mistake. How foolish of me to think I could make a living by teaching people how to read and write.

Written by

She’s the funny one. jessica.wildfire.writer@gmail.com

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