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Teacher Says Teaching Is No Longer About Education, It’s A ‘Customer Service Job’ — And The Customers Are Not The Kids

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teacher smiling at students playing with educational toys at their desks

A teacher has admitted that the essence of being an educator has turned into something completely different, and the problem seems to stem from parents.

In a video, a public school educator named Teresa Kaye Newman revealed that the most frustrating aspect of being in education is dealing with parents who don't set their child's educational experience as the number one priority, which bleeds into how teachers can do their job.

She claimed that teaching is no longer about education but rather a 'customer service job.'

"I just heard another teacher say that teaching is no longer an education job, it is now a customer service job. Unfortunately, I couldn't agree more," Newman bluntly stated at the start of her video. She acknowledged that, knowing this sentiment is true, it's no wonder why schools are being looked at as unable to service their students properly anymore.

   

   

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"There is a reason why a lot of things are happening in the classroom that are either ineffective or just downright harmful to our kids," Newman argued. "A lot of it has nothing to do with the fact that teachers are willingly choosing to do those things. The people that run our school districts are terrified of their constituents, and you know who those constituents are? Parents and community members."

Newman noticed that parents who want to work with schools, as well as teachers and parents who want to be active in the public education their kids are receiving, are being railroaded by other parents who only care if their child is having a good time. She likened it to the same energy of going into a restaurant and trying to get the server fired because they aren't being seated within five minutes of entering the establishment despite not having a reservation.

Those types of parents can wield that type of power over their child's teacher, and if something is happening to their child that they don't like, or if they feel they are being unfairly punished, that parent can speak up and override a teacher's authority in the classroom.

"The worst part is because teachers are on the front line of all of this mess. They are the ones getting blamed all day long for this type of stuff," Newman said. "We have lost sight of the fact that most teachers are hired to go into your school and teach your children."

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The teacher pointed out that teachers are more than qualified to handle issues in their classrooms without parental interjection.

Teachers not only have certified degrees in education in their specific content area but they are also specialized in behavioral management and educational philosophy and understand what is best for a child in a learning environment.

"It seems like prioritizing the educational experience of our kids in the classroom environment is taking a back seat to keep the customer happy," Newman explained. "If your primary justification for mistreating teachers on the regular is that you pay property taxes in that area and therefore the teacher works for you ... by that same logic, that teacher also pays property taxes in that area and so therefore, they work for themselves."

Teachers already put up with too much, including being severely underpaid and underappreciated as well as a lack of classroom resources and free time. According to a survey by the National Center for Education Statistics, between the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years, 84.1% of public school teachers stayed at the same school while 7.9% left the profession and 7.9% changed schools. 

Among those leaving the teaching profession, retirement was the most cited reason (16%), followed by health issues or childcare needs (15%). Additionally, 13% said they left to pursue a new field, and 9% because they wanted or needed a higher salary.

Teachers are facing high levels of burnout, and it doesn't help that they are being criticized and prodded from every direction, whether it's from parents, school administrators or the school district mandates and rules that interfere with their learning environments.

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This criticism against parents and community members has been something Newman has examined in other videos.

One such video explained her thoughts on parents telling their children that a teacher needs to "earn" their respect, in which Newman detailed her belief that children are being encouraged now more than ever by their parents to defend being "disrespected" by their teachers with any type of reaction.

   

   

"I don't understand why we are trying to teach our kids to be violent and ugly even when someone else is not treating them exactly the way they want to be treated," she argued. "When they're out in the workplace and grown and they're trying to hold down a job that they want to keep despite the boss not being the kindest person, they're gonna need to learn how to be a little bit more diplomatic."

Parents and community members with this mentality are not only hurting the educational well-being of their children but all of the other ones in the classrooms as well. A single child's priority shouldn't take precedence over all of the others, and teachers shouldn't be forced to operate under this mentality because that's not the reason why they got into that career field, and they are unable to effectively manage a classroom if parents are in their ear making sure they cater to one specific child over everyone else.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.