Challenges Teachers Face In The School System

If you think getting your child to complete their homework or getting up on time for school is a challenge…you’re not the only one. Your child’s teacher and the teachers you don’t know about are facing a dilemma all their own. A silent struggle that only other teachers can relate to, the spouses experience, and ultimately your child creates. The challenges teachers face in the public school system, here in America, can no longer be ignored. But as a society and community, are we going to continue to ignore them or step in and facilitate massive shifts for our teachers and the next generation of leaders?

Behavior Problems and a Lack of Responsibility

Parents are rescuing their children and not helping them learn responsibility.  

~3rd Grade Teacher

We’re not here to point fingers, however, if parents aren’t taking an active role in their child’s education, behavior, and contribution to their own community (which starts at home), it’s going to be ten times worse for an adult outside the home to educate them effectively.

Most teachers will tell you that disciplining students is one of the toughest parts of their job. In fact, 53% of teachers are stressed because of your students’ behavior. New research shows that teachers shouldn’t be left to manage discipline by themselves. It is more effective if staff are supported by the school itself and teachers work together to resolve student behavior issues. It’s paramount to also include the parents’ role in their child’s behavior as one cannot rule out that this behavior may also be seen at home.

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As one teacher points out in her experience, today’s parents tend to give and give and do and do for their children without requiring them to do anything in return. She sees first hand that parents are setting them up for failure. As a third grade teacher, she is always shocked when kids tell her that they do not have chores at home.

Teachers can only suggest and advise their students to take what they’ve learned at school and apply it to their home life. For instance, one teacher suggested to her class that they ask for a responsibility chore. She suggested at least one chore they can be proud of starting, completing, and benefitting from the fruits of their labor.

Parents seem to want to make and keep their kids happy more than anything else but that is a huge mistake.

~3rd Grade Teacher

What will happen to our society and community when these children grow up into adults never expecting consequences to be bestowed upon them? Good and bad consequences alike are important stepping stones to help them grow, learn, and eventually develop into responsible adults.

Education is in a sad state. The change has been getting worse each year. 


 Expectations of the Teachers by the Schools

There is so much one on one testing, I’m trying to teach all of the lessons and give 20 students tests individually (which can last up to an hour each), this is ridiculous. We also no longer have substitute teachers available to us.

~Kindergarten Grade Teacher
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According to one school’s guidelines and requirements, rigorous deadlines have been placed on the teachers to finish Benchmark (ELA) and math assessments. They were also required to use the new ELA and science curriculum this past year. Meaning the teachers received a new curriculum right before school began and are now expected to use it without prior knowledge of the scope and sequence to effectively teach their students.

There’s simply no time to learn it myself before teaching it to the students, and yet that’s what the schools expect us to do.

~Kindergarten Grade Teacher

To give you an idea of a sample ELA lesson that is newly required, the first lesson for a kindergarten class is 105 minutes long. This does not take into account the required assessments, one on one required testing, or the students with behavior issues (like biting, hitting, kicking, and running away from the teacher for correction).

I have 5 students that do not know how to hold scissors and 6 that can’t write their name. Only 1 student can count to 11 and another who can only count to 3.

~Kindergarten Grade Teacher

The challenges teachers are facing in the school system aren’t just left at school. The spouses of teachers feel the grief as well. As one husband noted, he sees that not only are they {schools} putting more expectations on the kids but the teachers are stressed and that stress is coming home. 

Standardized Tests – Who is to blame?

It seems that teachers feel that education has now become their sole responsibility, meaning without parental assistance. It used to start at home, says Shawna, a 12-year teacher. Parents now believe that they shouldn’t have to be responsible for their own children.

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In the local school system where Shawna taught, if kids fail a test, somehow the school system looks at the teachers: they aren’t doing their job. But where are the parents in all this?

Is this the system our children are now exposed to? An educational model whereby they are tested solely on what they learn at school with no accountability at home? After all, that’s what standardized testing shows: if a teacher is truly effective or not. It doesn’t seem to take into account whether parents worked with their children at home or not. Parents, according to the teachers aren’t aiding in their attempts to teach new skills and transfer new information outside of the school classroom.

There is no way to hold children accountable for their own learning.


In most families, in Shawna’s experience, it is quite obvious that extracurricular activities take priority over their academics. She goes on to explain that she would even get “excusatory” letters saying, “Johnny didn’t do his homework last night, because he had a late soccer game.”

So, how does standardized testing really show the effectiveness of learning if the multitude of variables is so dynamic?

The Need for Parental & Community Involvement & How to Effectuate Change

We cannot keep rescuing our children from their own consequences. Your time spent with your child and the collaboration with their teachers is paramount to ease the stress both at school and at home.

According to Dana Gerendasi, principal of the Waterside Elementary School in Queens, New York, she suggests that parents take an active role and attend PTA meetings and school events.

And as far as the behavior issues. If parents don’t respect teachers, why would students? Society as a whole no longer sees teaching as a respectable career, and the salary shows it.

Parental involvement with the school will give you more of a firsthand look at what your child’s school and teachers need from you.

See your child’s teacher as a partner not a complainer

A 14-year teacher suggests that parents adopt the mindset that their child’s school is designed to help educate their children, not be the sole source of their education and character building skill sets. If you look at your doctor as a respectable, knowledgeable, advisor to your health, then perceive your child’s teacher in a similar way. They are not there to complain about your child, they see a problem (symptom) and they want to advise you on how to treat it (the prescribed medication).

Be sure to read everything your teacher sends home with your child. 

Your child’s teacher likely has some valuable notes and observations that you don’t see on a day-to-day basis. Keep your emotions out of it and look at the situation in a non-biased way, as simply as the teacher’s experience. There’s no need to ‘defend’ your child’s behavior. You weren’t there. Your child’s teacher was…every-single-school-day. If they mention that your child is struggling to learn or isn’t cooperating, meet with them for some suggestions to enhance their learning skills while they are not in school. You know your child best, share with their teachers what you have found that works. Collaborating together rather than butting heads over behavior issues is the real issue.

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Recognize the Struggle and the Necessity for Teachers

They’re human too. Your child’s teacher is a human being who has her own set of challenges outside of the classroom, and yet she chose this line of work. If you happen to be comparing your career to the teachers thinking they have it easy, singing and playing games all day…think again. No ‘job’ is easy in the eye of the beholder. If you want a hands-on experience with your child’s teacher, spend a day in their classroom with them (but don’t help even if you are tempted to – because your teacher more than likely has no assistance).

According to teachers in general, they feel they suffer the most in the current public school educational system. The students suffer, but most of the teachers who are still in the profession, are so passionate, resourceful, and really trying to do their best continuously, however with less. This, in turn, reflects on the students who are suffering immensely too.

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The students who entered my College English class were often at the same levels at my 3rd grade students. Education is in a sad state. The change has been getting worse each year. I’m pretty sure I did not get a 1-step increase in my salary in those 10 years.


Our teachers have some very real challenges that they are facing in the school system.  This and more can be seen when you become more involved with your teacher’s situation and ask how you can help alleviate not only their difficulties but your child’s as well. If your teacher is challenged you can also bet your child is suffering from the ripple effects of the teacher’s struggles as well. As a parent, a teacher, or a concerned member of our society, it’s about time for all of us to advocate for the necessary changes both the teachers and students need.


You might also like: Run to the Chopper: A Look at Helicopter Parenting.

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Andi LaBrune
Andi LaBrune
She's a country girl at heart with her hubby and 11 kids in central Virginia. She raises a small homestead of chickens & ducks with her family. If she's not hatching eggs, waiting for those adorable chicks to emerge, or tearing up the kitchen with yet another scrumptious, mouth-watering meal from her grass-fed roots, or she's sweating her sass off teaching Zumba Fitness classes. You can catch up with her and all her wild, yet introverted shenanigans over at The Skinny Mommy.