Last week, we highlighted a study finding that minority teacher shortages are caused largely by unsatisfactory working conditions in schools. In response, a teacher now working abroad sent us an email amplifying the point:
My thoughts are that many minority teachers have probably had to struggle so hard to overcome bias and stereotype throughout their education, that by the time they finish teachers' college they truly are the "cream of the crop" and are highly sought out by industries which pay much more and in which they are much more appreciated that they would be in education. My guess is a burned-out minority teacher quickly realizes how marketable he/she is in a variety of industries and wisely (although sadly) moves on.
It's sad to say - I have been a teacher for 15 years and love it. I started out as a special education teacher. About 8 years ago while taking some post-grad courses to add a licensure, I would see young, articulate, intelligent, attractive women in my class and think, "Why the hell are you going into education?! The world is your oyster and you will never be appreciated for you talents and will likely be ground down under the heel of educational politics." Yes, I know it is awful that I feel this way, but being a teacher in the U.S. right now...well, I can't help but think it's probably one of the worst times in history. That's why I moved overseas and now teach at international schools.
However, I greatly admire and respect those educators who stay in the public system and keep up the "good fight". I just couldn't do it. And I'm wondering if a life of struggling to prove oneself as a person of color, different sexual preference, disability, etc., etc. leads individuals to the same spot.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.