This is a letter by retired New Jersey teacher Freya Gervasi of Denville.
Regarding the recent op-ed, “N.J. needs policies that encourage people to join the teaching profession,” by Mike Lilley, president of the Sunlight Policy Center of New Jersey:
I am a retired New Jersey teacher who has remained in touch with many current members of my profession. Losing tenure and seniority does prevent teachers from moving among different districts.
However, the reasons that Lilley cites — limited mobility, union dues and lack of merit pay — are not the only issues that keep young people from teaching or that drive out experienced educators.
Here is what does more to deter new teachers and encourages early retirements: The constant intrusions of many parents and boards of education into day-to-day education activities; the hours of mindless paperwork to support lesson plans and grades (Example: “Every child deserves an ‘A’ for their efforts”); and responding to harassing phone calls and emails.
Admittedly there are bad teachers, but there are far more well-educated, compassionate, creative and talented ones who resent being challenged daily to justify their positions, while never being acknowledged and trusted as valuable professionals dedicated to educating our children.
(Photo courtesy of freepik.)