Challenges in the Teaching Profession
Teaching is one of the most respected professions worldwide given the role that teachers play in shaping and molding people to become better members of society. This notwithstanding, the occupation has become more complicated thus today’s teachers face more challenges as compared to those of yesterday. The learners trigger some of the issues that teachers face. These professionals have noted decreasing patience levels of learners and ever-increasing rates of disobedience, temperament, argumentation, and rudeness. These problems are caused by many factors including age, availability of technology such as the internet, and heightened depression levels. Several studies have been conducted in this regard with the focus on identifying and addressing some of the day-to-day teaching profession challenges. Pine-Thomas’s 2017 study explores the challenges that educators face in their line of duty. It identifies educators’ technology integration barriers as well as student technology preparedness as some of the issues of concern for 21st-century teaching professionals. According to Pine-Thomas (2017), technology has significantly changed contemporary society as highlighted by the increasing needed for workforce that has in turned affected the system of education around the world.
A lot of funds have been invested in educational technology-related facilities. Unfortunately, the integration of the tools alone cannot improve teaching and learning. In the real sense, their addition in the classroom context is a significant challenge for educators around the world. Pine-Thomas (2017) believes that technology integration related barriers in the teaching profession range from the inadequacy of technology resources to the lack of functional technological resources such as computers. The purpose of the study by Pine-Thomas was to determine whether charter school educators face technical challenges or barriers that impede the incorporation of technology into the classroom context.
This study was guided by and sought to answer three fundamental questions. One of the questions revolved around the indicators that cause high school educators to believe that they face or encounter barriers that impede their efforts to incorporate technology into classrooms. It also sought to find out why teachers firmly believe that those they teach are prepared from a technological perspective as professionals of today. The experimental quantitative design was used, and the focus was on determining the cause-and-effect relationship between educator’s use of technology and the influence this has on learners’ technological preparedness. The participants of the study were charter high school educators who were teaching in a high school at the time of the study. Ethical treatment of the human subjects was ensured through the provision of a consent form to participants. The document informed them about the study’s voluntary nature. Additionally, the study respected the participants’ confidentiality by not asking them demographic questions.
As for the quantitative data collection method, survey questions were uploaded to an online format and forwarded to teachers who were expected to respond to them. For data analysis, hypothesis testing and SPSS software played a crucial role. To ensure validity, the researcher incorporated design features, such as using multiple testing sites. Representative samples were collected although the researcher was unable to tell the diversity of the data because of the survey’s anonymity. Overall, this study’s findings were found to be valid and reliable. However, one of the weaknesses is that it was limited to high school educators and ignored others such as K-12 educators.
Mitchell (2008) also explores the challenges faced in the teaching profession with a specific focus on how school culture affects student achievement. The study determined that positive school culture is essential when it comes to increasing students’ achievement in a climate of high-stakes accountability. It also argues that educators with the knowledge of their schools’ culture are in a position to understand how culture influences measurable outcomes that are integral to students’ achievements. The study’s purpose was to explore the relationship between the culture of schools and third-grade reading and math scores on a standardized test. It intended to contribute positively to the educational leadership field related to student achievement as well as elements that affect schools’ cultures. The study was guided by a single research question that concerned the relationship between positive school culture and the achievement of third-grade students on CRCT in reading and math. An experimental design was used, and it centered on establishing the relationship between school culture and students’ achievement on the third-grade CRCT scores in sampled schools. The target population in this study was school principals from an urban district in Georgia. 59 principals were sampled, and out of the 59, 15 volunteered to take part in the study.
The researchers obtained informed consent and ensured the confidentiality of participants; hence the exercise was ethical. An informed consent letter that mentioned that participation in the study was voluntary. Regarding privacy, participants did not place their names on the surveys. The fact that the researcher was not present during the competition of the surveys also ensured the discretion of participants. The data collection method was quantitative. The participants completed a survey that correlated with third-grade reading math scores on standardized test. For the analysis, the multiple linear regression method was used to analyze and asses the relationship between every set of response and explanatory variables. The analysis used results from the survey and the CRCT results for third-grade students in reading and mathematics. The researchers administered the School Climate Survey (SCS) to the participants at the same time to ensure the validity of the results. Overall, the study’s findings are valid and reliable. The exercise revealed that educators could influence school culture. Its findings do not show a significant relationship between the culture of a school and the overall results of third-grade standardized test scores in reading and math on the CRCT. However, one of the weaknesses of the study is that it focuses primarily on school principals and ignores the opinion of ordinary teachers.
Challenges in the teaching profession in today’s society are also explored in Galland (2008). The research explores the relationship between school structures and effective teacher leadership. The study presumes that teachers can hardly accomplish distributed leadership in the form of teacher leadership without restructuring their schools. Some of the challenges that force the teachers in restructuring schools include environmental shifts, organizational growth, technological changes, as well as leadership changes. The purpose of the study was to determine how school structures and teacher leadership effectiveness are related. The research was guided by four fundamental questions on how the teacher-leader effectiveness and role clarity are related, the existing link the effectiveness of the teacher leader and school structures, and the school structure component that is the most associated with teacher leader effectiveness. An experimental design was used in this study, and it sought to determine the relationship between school structures and the effectiveness of the teacher leader. The study’s participants were primarily teachers accepted into professional development programs that provide a nurturing and intellectually stimulating environment for both professional and personal growth. The size of the population sample was 180. Concerning ethical treatment, participants were informed that participation was voluntary through an informed consent form. Furthermore, their confidentiality was ensured throughout the process.
When it comes to data collection, the study relied on a School Structure and Teacher Leadership Questionnaire (SSTLQ) that was developed with special attention being paid to the research questions and hypotheses of the study. The SSTLQ was issued to the sampled 180 teachers who responded and handed them over to the researcher. The collected data was entered into SPSS 15.0 software for analysis with each research question being analyzed using different statistical methods. The survey questions were in line with the already collected data and relied on past studies on the same in an aim to ensure the validity of the findings. One of the strengths of the Gallard (2008) study is that the researcher was guided and supervised by an experienced researcher from the beginning to the end. However, a significant weakness is that the researcher used an instrument developed by himself meaning that both the reliability and validity of the study could have been limited to some extent.
The mentioned studies agree that numerous challenges the teaching profession faces immense problems today. In line with these studies, some of the problems include the technology integration barriers affecting student technology preparedness as 21st-century professionals, bad school cultures that adversely impact student achievement, as well as school structures that impact the effectiveness of teacher leaders.
Galland, C. (2008). Effective teacher leadership: A quantitative study of the relationship between school structures and effective teacher leaders (Doctoral dissertation, University of Missouri–Columbia). Retrieved from https://mospace.umsystem.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10355/5605/research.pdf?sequence=3&isAllowed=y
Mitchell, B. D. (2008). A quantitative study on positive school culture and student achievement on a criterion-referenced competency test (Doctoral dissertation, University of Phoenix). Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.564.3175&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Pine-Thomas, J. A. (2017). Educator’s Technology Integration Barriers and Student Technology Preparedness as 21st Century Professionals. Retrieved from https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=4568&context=dissertations