As we celebrate Thanksgiving and think about how much we appreciate our educators, CEA President Kate Dias says showing gratitude requires that we listen to teachers.
“We demonstrate appreciation, understanding, and support by listening,” Dias said at a news conference yesterday releasing the results of a CEA survey of members that found unhappiness with working conditions, high levels of burnout, and other serious problems are leading to fewer teachers entering the profession and more teachers leaving.
“Our survey found that three-quarters of our teaching workforce is looking to do something else,” Dias said. “Last fall we were devastated when our survey showed 38% of our educators were looking to leave the profession early.”
Every educator got into teaching because they believe in the vital work of educating the next generation, yet stress and burnout are now making teachers feel like they are being set up to fail.
“Every single day we lift up our students, we find their capacity to grow and achieve, and we celebrate those things. Students are not always willing participants, and that’s okay—that’s our job, to love them through that, to carry them through that, and show them the possibilities,” Dias said.
She continued, “We can’t do that if nobody’s taking care of us. Teachers need to be listened to. These are problems that can be solved.”
The survey found that giving thanks to teachers by respecting them as professionals, providing salaries that are competitive and in line with comparable education backgrounds, and limiting non-teaching duties and excessive paperwork would go a long way toward addressing the current problems and helping with the recruitment and retention problem plaguing our schools.
“We need the help of lawmakers to enact legislation that uplifts our profession and honors the good work being done, that looks to compensate and recognize how hard this job is and how important it is to get it right,” Dias said. “Whether or not we act shows if we really believe public education is a good that all Connecticut students deserve. Failure to act condemns our students and our schools and diminishes our children’s future.”
Watch Dias this Sunday on NBC Connecticut’s Face the Facts at 10 a.m.