Studies show that teacher job satisfaction is at an all time low. The reasons for dissatisfaction include but are not limited to: negative public perception of the profession; increasing bureaucratic requirements that teachers feel sabotage the development of native, intellectual curiosity; lack of time to devote to content area instruction; and job responsibilities that significantly impact family time.
The 2011 movie “American Teachers” that documents the lives of five teachers for a year states that 46% of new teachers quit within the first five years of teaching.
A 2007 policy briefing by the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future estimates that we lose $7.34 billion annually to teacher attrition. Of the 332,700 teachers who left the profession in the 2003-2004 school year, for example, only roughly 26 per cent of them retired. The abstract reads:
“Until we recognize that we have a retention problem, we will continue to engage in a costly annual recruitment and hiring cycle, pouring more and more teachers into our nation’s classrooms only to lose them at a faster and faster rate. This will continue to drain our public tax dollars, it will undermine teaching quality, and it will most certainly hinder our ability to close student achievement gaps.”
Danielle Robbins, Education and Public Programs Director at the Cowlitz County Historical Museum, is passionate history first and teaching second. She attended Central Washington University intending to become a teacher. “I took my history classes, and I loved them. But when I took my first education class, I knew I had to change my major. I wanted nothing to do with the politics,” Robbins said. She changed majors to museology.
Robbins creates self-contained history units, or “Traveling Trunks,” that she presents to Cowlitz County elementary classrooms. By coordinating her activities with the state’s curriculum-based assessments, she leaves teachers with evidence of student learning in line with state history curricula, while she gets to focus on what she loves most: her content and teaching it.
To find out more about her program, Robbins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.