Magazine article Techniques

Teachers at Work

Magazine article Techniques

Teachers at Work

Article excerpt

There's a lot to know about U.S. teachers and their jobs thanks to a bulging new study from The National Center for Education Statistics. The more than 400-page book, "America's Teachers: Profile of a Profession, 1993-94," is packed with complicated charts, graphs and explanations about every stat you ever wanted to know about teachers. If you must see the whole thing for yourself visit the NCES Web page at www.ed.gov/NCES or call (800) 424-1616 for a free copy. Here is a digest version of some of the more interesting tidbits.

* Hands-on Learning

Nearly 23 percent of all public school teachers said they assigned students to at least one of these types of assignments at least once a week - working on a project, gathering data or conducting an experiment. Vocational teachers reported doing this almost twice as often.

                                                  All    Vocational
                                               teachers   teachers

Read textbook                                    61.6       50.6
Read supplementary material                      47.7       43.3
Routine exercise from workbook or worksheet      63.9       51.3
Apply concepts to new situation                  42.3       46.1
Do project, gather data, or do experiment        22.5       41.9

* Gave up on Teaching

In a 1994-95 follow-up survey the NCES polled former teachers who had left the profession because they were dissatisfied with teaching. Nearly one-third of respondents said "lack of recognition and support" was their main reason for leaving, followed by student discipline problems and poor student motivation.

Lack of recognition and support                             31.6
Student discipline problems                                 16.6
Poor student motivation                                     15.5
Poor salary                                                 10.3
Lack of influence over policy                                6.6
Lack of opportunity for advancement                          5.5
Lack of control over classroom                               4.4
Lack of teaching time                                        4.2
Lack of preparation time                                     2.7
Lack of resources and materials                              1.4
Large class size                                             1.2

Source: NCES, Teacher Follow-up Survey: 1994-95.

* The Classroom vs. The Real World

About 64 percent of all public school teachers said they "explained the link between school work anti real world" at least once a week. When broken down into disciplines, vocational teachers reported doing this slightly less than the overall average (63 percent). …

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