Friday, March 20, 2015

The PTSD Crisis Among Teachers in High Poverty Schools

Teachers in low-income communities now suffer from double PTSD. The first portion of it comes from dealing with students and parents  living under extreme stress whose pain inevitably enters the classroom directly and indirectly and whose challenges, whether medical, legal, economic or academic, tug at a teachers conscience and disturb their sleep. The second portion comes from relentless, daily assaults from media and politicians, coupled with bogus teacher evaluation metrics, compounded by micromanaging and scripting from fearful administrators who miss no opportunity to humiliate teachers to preserve their own jobs ( there are some administrators who protect teachers and insulate them from the assault, but they are the minority)

The levels of stress this double assault engenders is truly extraordinary. It explains why so many teachers leave schools in poor communities at the first available opportunity, either to leave the profession entirely, or to move to a school in a higher income area.

No one is doing anything about either assault. Income inequality grows, poverty worsens and the attack on teacher professionalism is still picking up steam.

And our poorest children, already living under stress, are deprived of both an anchor and much needed support and inspiration.