(WFSB) – Eyewitness News has teamed up with the state’s two teacher unions for a one of a kind survey.
The goal of the survey was to give parents a glimpse of what goes on inside their children’s classrooms, flaws and all.
The results were eye-opening.
The 23-question survey was sent to 50,000 Connecticut public school teachers. Of those teachers, 1,400 responded.
On Thursday night, six of them spoke about the results of the survey and how hard the job of being a teacher is.
“A lot of educators don’t feel prepared right now in this day and age to deal with a lot of the issues that students bring to us in our classrooms from the outside community,” said Kristen Record of Stratford.
When it comes to violence, more than half of the 1,400 teachers who responded say they’ve either been threatened, or they’ve seen a student threaten another student.
“Chairs being thrown across the room, that’s a typical thing,” said Michael Wight, a Newtown teacher.
A resounding 88 percent said they didn’t feel equipped to deal with student’s mental health challenges, whether it be in-classroom violence or diagnosed conditions. Seventy-seven percent said there wasn’t enough support for children at their school either.
“Since Sandy Hook and some of the other tragedies, we’ve seen no additional support in that sense and teacher, we care about our students, we give our hearts for our students, but we’re not mental health professionals and we need more of those professionals in our schools,” said Michael McCotter.
Teachers say technology also contributes to the violence in a way that wasn’t seen even in the last few years.
“They wake up to a barrage of communication from their peers and it’s constant,” Record said.
The survey showed more than half of the teachers say bullying is either somewhat or a major problem in their classrooms.
“Fifteen years ago, bullying might be much more visible to us as teachers and we could help those students. Now, bullying takes place on social media,” said Leigh Nuemon of Cromwell.
While technology rapidly changes, teachers aren’t trained to keep up. Not just trends on social media, but in classroom technology as well.
While these problems are tough and run the gamut, many teachers believe the solution, at its core, lies in funding.
“To give us the tools we need to properly educate and support the students we have in our schools. That’s a huge piece,” Wight said.
The survey and the interview with the teachers shows they are deal with violence, financial issues, and an ever-changing learning environment.
But, at the end of the survey and the interview, the teachers were asked if knowing what they know, would they still want to be teachers.
All six raised their hands.