Teacher Shares Personal Experience with Student Violence and Why Fear Pushed Her to Resign

Why Are So Many Dedicated Teachers Leaving The Profession?

One of the most talked about questions surrounding public education, yet the answer is surprisingly simple: Teachers are emotionally exhausted.

In the above video, Wisconsin teacher, Kerstin Westcott, offers us a first-hand insight into the issues surrounding our nation’s public education system. While Washington Middle School may be an extreme case of an unhealthy and unsafe school environment, teachers across the nation are still feeling the same emotions Westcott describes.

According to National Center for Education Statistics research, “about 8 percent of teachers leave the teaching profession each year, and another 8 percent move to a different school, making the overall turnover rate about 16 percent.” For 55 percent of teachers who make up the overall turnover rate, dissatisfaction is the reason behind their decision to leave the profession or change schools.

Although high-stakes testing, pupil/teacher ratio, school leadership, lack of funding, and etc. are all contributing factors to the dissatisfaction rate, none have a more negative effect than the attitudes and behaviors of students.

If there was ever a doubt surrounding why Elevate Teachers founder, Dr. Garrett, wrote The Kids Are Smart Enough -- So What’s The Problem?, there shouldn't be after watching the above video. Kerstin Westscott’s story is proof positive that Dr. Garrett’s book is relevant to many schools across the United States.

As mentioned in The Kids Are Smart Enough -- So What’s The Problem?, 80 percent of teachers surveyed were victimized at school at least once in the current school year or prior year. The violence against teachers is a growing crisis that directly contributes to implications of the education system. And yet, like Dr. Garrett expresses, this issue is generally ignored or at least underreported by the media and given inadequate attention by scholars.

Expected to do more and more while their actual teaching time is being reduced by factors out of their control, teachers are being forced to carry heavy burdens. These burdens then lead to the emotional exhaustion of teachers or like Dr. Garrett would say, “a negative balance in their emotional bank account.” In his book, he creates the idea of ‘The Teacher’s Emotional Bank Account.’ You can see the visual below.

The Teacher’s Emotional Bank Account

The Teacher’s Emotional Bank Account

Like Kerstin Westcott, most teachers in public schools are working with a negative emotional bank account balance. However, The Kids Are Smart Enough -- So What’s The Problem? emphasizes that there is still hope for the future of our teachers and education system.

“This problem can be whipped but the nation must rise out of our collective apathy and support teachers, politicians, and school systems,” says Dr. Garrett. “We have to empower them to make the proper decisions and implement the programs necessary for students’ success.”

More about the research conducted by Dr. Garrett can be read in his book titled, The Kids Are Smart Enough -- So What’s The Problem.