Teacher Shortage and the Doctor Comparison

This article talks about how schools throughout the country are grappling with a teacher shortage and I want to know how anyone is surprised by this? Why would anyone go into teaching when you are graded with useless and unproven metrics and made to do paperwork all day?

The similarities between doctors (and nurses) and teachers are seemingly endless and I go into detail here from an older post.  The author in this article talks about the two causes being

  1. Salary
  2. The job being too demanding.

Maybe.  Everyone would like more money but the “demanding” part is really not explained well by the author.  It is demanding due to bureaucratic drag.  The more paperwork and crap you make these people do only takes them away from what doing they love, which is teaching. Why do they not get this?  Add to this that they want to “grade” teachers on how the students score on national exams and it frustrates the hell out of them.

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The similar situation is going on in the medical profession. The more doctors and nurses are taken away from doing what they love the more they want to quit.  Add paperwork. Add bureaucratic drag. Add administrators.  Add metrics.  It is the perfect recipe for disaster.

So, with this teacher shortage, and knowing what we now know in healthcare, how do you think schools will respond?

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  6 comments for “Teacher Shortage and the Doctor Comparison

  1. Rsw
    August 24, 2017 at 10:00 am

    One big difference: teachers have unions that fight for their members; physicians have professional societies that fight against their members.

  2. SimpleSimon
    August 23, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    My husband was a teacher, and for every year he taught, he would get a pay raise the next year. So, experience paid off, with the experienced teachers getting a bigger cut of the financial pie.
    Physicians get the same reimbursement rate whether they are just out of residency or been in the trenches for forty years. My take home was the greatest in about 2005, then went down a slippery slope for the next 10 years, as costs and demands increased and reimbursement fell off drastically. Fortunately, I saved enough to retire comfortably, and consider myself a “recovering physician” and no offer is good enough for me to return to the trenches.

  3. Sir Eptitious
    August 22, 2017 at 9:39 am

    It never fails to amaze me about the ignorance of MBA types regarding the writings of Peter (not Sam) Drucker on the management of knowledge workers. Treating professionals like drones is bound to end in failure. I switched from active practice to administrative medicine due to EMR and other bureaucratic BS.

  4. Steve O'
    August 22, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Dirty hands. America has created a workplace that despises those who actually do the work. Look at the name on the building. If an employee’s work has anything to do with the specific duty therein, he/she is a peon, a serf.
    School-TEACHER. Clinic/Hospital-DOCTOR, NURSE. Car-WASHER. Store-CLERK.
    All peons. Now, MBA’s fit in all of these organizations. So does HR.
    Healthcare would be so easy if it weren’t for the sick people; schools, if not for the kids, etc.

  5. Pat
    August 22, 2017 at 7:55 am

    The only intelligent thing would be to add a “professionalism” module to their existing MOC. A module over proper eraser banging, where you have a colleague observe you, note the average apparent de-chalking, institute quality assessments, performance goals, and periodic reassessment checks with further analysis to determine whether the improvement steps actually resulted in measurable progress might be fun.
    There really should be a National Teachers Database wherein an educator’s name is entered if any parent alleges poor outcome due to teacher negligence. A Unified Educator National Identifier would really help streamline things. With all of the pre-schoolers sniffing glue and highlighters now epidemic – the middle schoolers having moved on to weed and mama’s Xanax, to balance out the Adderall – involved teachers should have a Dept of Education Access license, renewable say every 3 years, in order to dispense and monitor intoxicating arts materials (it’s a nominal fee, and a professional obligation).
    With the rash of teacher-student sexual encounter reports seemingly pandemic, educators should all have mandatory CME, and DNA data basing (the fingerprinting ain’t working), as well as assess all teachers a yearly fee to go into a fund to pay for all the 16 year-old makes traumatized by the actions of a few naughty apples.

    There’s really no reason that teacher’s aids – who can teach at least 90% of what actual teachers can – shouldn’t be allowed to teach independently in underserved areas, as an equal and valued part of the “learning team.”

  6. Sir Lance-a-lot
    August 22, 2017 at 7:54 am

    They will respond, and they have responded, the same way: with LELTs, such as bringing idealistic, energetic kids out of college for a year or two with “Teach for America,” interns, volunteer retirees, etc.

    Teachers, (and I’m not saying anything negative about them here), are required to have a less defined and less extensive body of knowledge than physicians, so adminstranimals can replace them with the poorly qualified and the unqualified that much easier, and if those people don’t do well, so what? They were only passing through anyway. Meanwhile, the “education professionals” can say, “Look, we got that 20 year old to do your job, essentially for free – Tell us again why we need to pay you more?” And thus continues the cycle of racing to the bottom with poorer wages, poorer working conditions (“Can’t touch a student,” even if he’s 6’2″ and coming at you with a knife), and poorer outcomes in our education system.

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