Teacher survey shows low CCSD morale, frustration with district

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A new survey published by the Charleston Teacher Alliance shows morale is low among teachers in the district.

The Winter 2018 survey had over 650 teachers respond, and low morale was one of the biggest problems teachers are dealing with.

51 percent of teachers surveyed said there is a strong teacher morale.

“There’s a big issue with morale in the district, and I don’t think that’s a big secret because it’s an issue we’re seeing statewide,” Charleston Teacher Alliance Director Jody Stallings said. “We’re seeing teachers leave the classroom and seeing a hard time having teachers come into the classroom. So morale is definitely one of the top issues that we found.”

The survey also shows teachers aren’t getting an opportunity to get a break in the middle of the day and are still having issues with discipline.

“We learned that a lot of teachers are still having issues with discipline in their classroom,” Stalling said. “The progressive discipline plan has made attempts to try and strengthen that but we’re still having issues. We’re having issues with substitute teachers.”

63 percent of teachers who took the survey said they don’t have a substitute available to fill in when needed, and nearly half of the teachers said their class sizes were small enough to teach effectively.

A lot of the write-in responses said the key to keeping teachers was raising pay, but that’s not the only thing teachers said needs to be done to raise moral.

“The one you hear most often is pay but it’s surprising to us that whenever we ask teachers this problem it’s one of the things that comes up but it’s not the only thing. We hear things like discipline in the classroom, lack of respect from administrators, lack of competency in administrators,” Stallings said. “These are the kinds of things we hear a lot that aren’t necessarily some things you hear on the national and state level.”

These are some of the survey write-ins from teachers:

  • “CCSD keeps asking us to do more, and they do not show any respect to teachers. I  feel overworked and underappreciated. I have taught for CCSD for many years. I love spending my time coming up with great lessons for my class,  but I do not like to be given work that doesn’t help my students. CCSD  shows more interest in testing teachers instead of helping students. I  can’t believe that they keep giving us larger classes, and they take away intervention. That is not helping children!”
  • “Retaining teachers boils down to feeling valued and  having high morale within a school. The administration teams at each  school can make or break the morale of their faculty. I wish CCSD had more strict guidelines for administrators instead of just shunning them around  to other schools in the district.”
  • “Treat teachers with respect.”

Stallings said the CTA works with school board members and district officials to go over the results they found from the survey along with solutions that could help.

Stallings said there are already things being put in place that will help with some of these issues.

“We are seeing some progress towards solutions to building that morale and solving some of these issues inside the classroom,” Stallings said.

Stallings also said for the last two years the district has been eager to listen to the results of these surveys.

CCSD district officials released the following statement:

“Charleston County School District takes feedback from teachers seriously, and the Charleston Teacher Alliance survey data are very important to school and district decision-makers. The feedback from teachers, whether from the 650 who took the CTA survey to the more than 2,700 who took the state-mandated teacher survey last Spring, is useful at the building level and the district level to help determine the effectiveness of many of our programs. We thank the dedicated teaching professionals of CCSD and will continue to work with teacher groups like CTA on issues that are important to them in an effort to make the school district a great place to work and attend school.”

Copyright 2019 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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