We often hear that teaching is more than a job. Most teachers enjoy their career because of the connections they make with their students. However, what if making such connections were almost impossible?
Class sizes are getting larger and larger every year in many schools, especially in inner-city areas. And it’s doing more than driving teachers crazy; it’s also pushing them away!
So, are you wondering why large class sizes are causing teachers to leave their career? Keep reading to discover this full report.
The Struggle Is Invisible
Students benefit from small classrooms as much as teachers do. That’s because, in a smaller class, it is easier to see when a student is struggling.
As classrooms grow more abundant, it becomes a kind of numbers game: teachers won’t discover who is struggling until it is too late. And once they uncover who is struggling, they may not be able to help them as thoroughly as the teacher would like.
Ideally, smaller classes allow teachers to provide individualised education to each student. Because no students learn the same way, this ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity education.
In short, larger classes make it harder to diagnose learning deficiencies and even harder to treat them.
More Work; Same Pay
It’s an open secret that teachers are underpaid. In exchange for some extra time off during the year, teachers are often paid far less than their peers in the private sector.
Teachers typically accept the low pay for an opportunity to work with students. However, larger class sizes are forcing many teachers to reconsider their priorities.
Let’s say that you previously taught a class of 25 students and it has been raised to 40. The blunt truth is that you are now doing extra work for no additional pay!
At this point, whether driven by passion or not, teachers may start to look for employers who genuinely value their labour.
The Lure of Private School
We typically think of teachers leaving education for a job in the private sector. Increasingly, though, teachers are leaving public education for the world of private schooling.
The chief motivation behind this move? Class size, of course! These private schools pride themselves on small class sizes, and smaller classes are more attractive to beleaguered public school teachers.
Once upon a time, the main argument against teaching in private schools was the relatively low wages. But when public schools are forcing teachers to take on so many extra students, many teachers are content with lower pay if it means a lower class size.
The Cost Game
Even though teachers don’t go into the educational field to make a lot of money, the topic of money is often a sticking point in their careers. Why? Because of bizarre financial decisions happening behind the scenes.
For example, many often insist that raising class sizes is necessary due to a lack of funding. Because schools cannot hire more teachers, existing teachers must buck up and take on more responsibilities.
Rising class sizes aren’t the only issue teachers are struggling with. More and more teachers must now work under the pressure of performance-based pay.
As you know, performance-based pay rewards teachers for the academic performance of their students. Such evaluations can be the primary factor in whether a teacher gets a raise or even manages to keep her job.
Larger class sizes pose an obvious obstacle for performance-based pay. Students in overcrowded classrooms are likelier to do poorly on their examinations. This reflects poorly on the teacher who must now choose between artificially inflating assessment levels or putting her career in jeopardy. And yes, artificially inflating assessment levels does happen folks!
Faced with such indignity, and yet more stress and concern over teachers mental health, is it any surprise that many teachers are packing up for better opportunities?
Larger class sizes are driving more teachers into the private sector. However, the truth is that private-sector jobs have always been waiting for teachers to join the workforce.
Despite the cruel refrain of “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach,” most teachers are overqualified for their current post. Those who teach subjects such as science and mathematics, for instance, could be making far more money by working in labs and engineering firms.
This is where the perception problem comes in. Teachers already know they are sacrificing more significant financial and career opportunities by teaching instead. When schools drastically increase their workload via larger classes, those sacrifices may be too enormous for teachers to bear any longer.
Thinking of Leaving Your Career in Teaching Because of Large Class Sizes? Others Are.