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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Who wants to teach at Lord of the Flies High?

Who wants to teach at Lord of the Flies High School?

Replacing baby-boomer teachers was a challenge even before the COVID-19 pandemic., writes Matthew Ladner, executive editor of redefinED. Now, given the post-pandemic meltdown in student behavior, it's even tougher.

Ladner fondly recalls this Simpsons' parody of Lord of the Flies. Who wants to be a counselor at Kamp Krusty?

He cites a survey of public school teachers by The 74, which found problems "from regular f-bombs and bullying to difficulty finishing assignments, raising hands or buttoning pants."

Educator morale is low, The 74 reports. "Thus far, public school educators nationally have not left their jobs at notably higher rates than before the pandemic began," but poor morale could make it hard to recruit new teachers. "This sets up possible future teacher shortages in an already thin market."

Fewer young people are enrolling in college, and fewer of those who do enroll are majoring in education, Ladner writes. "The entire teaching profession must be reimagined to attract the talent necessary to allow teachers to teach and to provide the structure necessary for students to thrive."

This chart, from The 74, shows the "percentage of teachers and principals who say the stress and disappointments of the job are worth it. You can see the trend.

Relaxing school discipline has undercut teachers' authority, making their jobs much harder, writes Jeremy Adams in an excerpt from his book, Hollowed Out: A Warning About America’s Next Generation. It's hurting well-behaved students and driving teachers out of the profession.

"Restorative justice" policies have normalized "vulgarity and violence," he writes.

More than three-quarters of teachers believe that "the interests of well-behaved students are being sacrificed to the indulgence of bad behavior."

Adams quotes New York City English teacher J. Bryan McGeever on the disorder: "Remember when cursing out a teacher was a very big deal? Well, now it’s just Tuesday," wrote McGeever, who teaches at an "alternative learning center" for students who've been suspended.

Suspensions are down by 50 percent in New York City public schools, the teacher writes. It's because "students committing outrageous misconduct often stay in their regular classrooms."

"Teachers are forced to endure whatever students brazenly and flagrantly throw at them (sometimes literally)," writes Adams. They're told to “get curious, not furious,” while "standing down" when confronted with student misconduct is seen "not as a dereliction of duty" but as "heroic compassion and sophisticated understanding.

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