Teacher Retention

Discussion in 'General Education' started by blitz1030, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. blitz1030

    blitz1030 Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2009
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 7, 2009

    Hello,

    I am writing a thesis on the main causes of low teacher retention. I would love to get some feedback from teachers on this forum.

    Why do you think so many teachers leave the profession within the first 3-5 years?

    Thanks!
     
  2.  
  3. sciencegurl

    sciencegurl Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    1

    Dec 7, 2009

    A few things come to my mind.
    1. Pay higher elsewhere...especially true of math and science teachers
    2. Burn out...long hours (especially new teachers), little support (poor mentoring) and lack of any rewards (think critical colleagues and unappreciative students/parents).

    This from the perspective of a HS teacher.
     
  4. SPECIALEDMAN

    SPECIALEDMAN Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    176
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 7, 2009

    I would have to agree that pay is likely the #1 reason.

    I imagine job security is now a factor as many school districts (due to unpredictable budget outcomes) do not guarantee a teaching position from year to year unless you have 5 years with that district.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Dec 7, 2009

    If that's so, then they didn't do their homework in the first place.

    Teacher pay scales are pretty much a matter of public record; it's no great secret just what teachers are paid.
     
  6. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Messages:
    503
    Likes Received:
    11

    Dec 7, 2009

    I don't think low pay is the reason so many peopel leave teaching, though is can certainly be an issue. I think it's the appalling lack of respect, by unreasonable students and parents and administrators. When students are rude and disruptive; and parents back their disrespectful kids and blame the teacher; and administrators don't give the support that is needed, teachers really get abused both emotionally and physically.
     
  7. cathyteaches

    cathyteaches Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 7, 2009

    I recommend glancing at this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teacher#Stress

    Then searching online, actually just type in your question in google, you'd be surprised how many results that you were looking for will come your way.
     
  8. Windy City

    Windy City Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 7, 2009

    Teachers in my area make a fine salary, so that is definitely not the reason for teachers to leave our district. With a Master's degree and a couple of years under your belt, it's not unreasonable for a teacher to be pushing the $70K mark. 20+ years? You're talking $100K.

    Our biggest reasons why teachers leave here:

    1. Family (we have a LOT of young teachers who get pregnant and decide to stay at home for several years).

    2. Dealing with parents. Our parent population is extremely demanding, and the stress of catering to their every whim sends teachers over the edge. I know of one who left last year for a lower paying district just because a lot of the parent pressure is significantly less.

    3. Basically everything CindyBlue said. :)
     
  9. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,888
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 7, 2009

    We have very little turn over, jobs here are like gold. Compare it to those who work 12 months a year with one or two week vacations and not much more of a salary.
     
  10. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,225
    Likes Received:
    1

    Dec 7, 2009

    Top reason I would quit is the ridiculous expectations they place on teachers. From the paperwork to what we have to place on our classroom walls.
     
  11. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Messages:
    1,845
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 7, 2009

    Non-supportive admin.
     
  12. wrice

    wrice Habitué

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    1

    Dec 7, 2009

    Surprised no one has mentioned standardized testing and the diluting of curriculum to teach to the test instead if inspire the best in kids...
     
  13. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Messages:
    942
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 7, 2009

    Absolutely!!!!!!! It's my second year teaching and if next year is anything like this year, I don't think I'll be back. Last year, as my first year, was awesome! This year, the amount of work placed on teachers at our school is unbelievable! I love my school, I love my grade, I love my coworkers and P. I don't love the unbelieveable amount of time that is spent in meetings and on paperwork for administration. I'm so looking forward to the Christmas break, just to get caught up. Planning time or collab time is rarely about planning or collabing.
     
  14. noreenk

    noreenk Cohort

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Messages:
    631
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 7, 2009

    to whoever said most teachers get close to $70K... WOAH! my school district is in a city with a very high cost of living and teacher salaries max out at $70K even with 20 yrs experience and a PhD.

    so i'd say, for the people where i live, it's gotta be:
    - too much pressure/time devoted to standardized testing
    - stress caused by parents and administrative junk like 1-2 hr meetings several times a week
    - low salary coupled with spending a lot of $ out of your own pocket to provide what your school should but doesn't. i know teachers that have had to buy their own staplers!
     
  15. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Messages:
    303
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 7, 2009

    In my area, most teaching jobs are at schools with high needs student populations. These positions can be very tough on new to the profession teachers. The teachers that leave within a couple of years do so because the level of work that is expected, the lack of support to develop classroom discipline, and the time commitment. Unfortunately, our teacher preparation programs in the area don't all do a good job preparing teachers for the demands of a job at our school.
     
  16. bryanmj

    bryanmj Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 7, 2009

    Job outlook is a big one for me. I've been teaching for 3 years and love it but if I don't have a job after this year I'm considering going back to school because I know I can find a higher paying job in a field I would enjoy. I wouldn't like it as much as teaching but it would be more stable at this point.

    My schedule is also insane. Nuts.
     
  17. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Messages:
    251
    Likes Received:
    1

    Dec 7, 2009

    Too. Much. Work.
    I don't feel like I can have a life.

    Disorganized, disrespectful top-heavy bureaucracy that makes insane demands of teachers, often re-inventing the wheel based on the whim of the next "new" thing. The chaos. For no good reason.

    Parents not doing anything with the kids or worse, working against you. And I am a working parent, so I know it is hard.

    Being expected to be an expert in everything, without the pay to back it up. I have a masters, have taught 9 years, and make less than 40 K.

    If all the other things went away, the pay would be no big deal, but with all of the frustration, you start to think survival, and if my husband didn't have a good paying job, I would not be able to survive on this pay.

    I think I am going to end up a radical unschooler, when I continue to witness the joy being wrung out of students and teachers every day in the name of test scores and "reform".

    Sorry. I love my students and colleagues, but I am really starting to hate school.
     
  18. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 8, 2009

    In our school we lose many teachers to administrative jobs - they move on to be AP or to writing curriculum.

    I do think many people have unrealistic expectations going into teaching. Many think it's an easy job-hey, you get to play with kids all day, right? Once they get into it and find out that managing a class of kids and all the other things people have mentioned about curriculum, testing, dealing with parents and admin, etc. they find out it's harder to juggle all that than they think.
     
  19. maebowler

    maebowler Comrade

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    340
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 8, 2009


    I don't think the op was saying most teachers make close to $70K, I think they were saying that teachers in their area make close to $70K.
     
  20. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    5

    Dec 8, 2009

    The increadibly steep learning curve. Even student teaching doesn't adequately prepare most new teachers for the demands of having one's own classroom. Combine that with less than effective support and mentoring, and the stress of the job can be insane.

    Other reasons I can think of include:
    Unreasonable demands from administrators who have no clue what it's really like to be in a classroom, or have forgotten.

    Being forced to stifle kids imaginations because you have to teach the test

    Being forced to teach things that are developmentally inappropriate, because some big wig decided the way to increase test scores was to throw even more information at the kids before they'd mastered the fundemental concepts.

    Being expected to work magic with underprepared students when anything you try to do is sabotaged by the administration.

    Being expected to maintain absolute control, while at the same time having any meaningful disiplinary measures taken from you because the admin is afraid of being sued (you can't keep a kid for dention, you can't fail him, you can't lower the score because the work was late, being forced to accept late work MONTHS after it was due).
     
  21. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,923
    Likes Received:
    149

    Dec 8, 2009

     
  22. blitz1030

    blitz1030 Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2009
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 8, 2009

    Thanks

    Thanks guys for all the responses. I have read numerous studies on attrition in the teaching field. A lot of the current info is based on No Child Left Behind.

    Suprisingly (from what I have read), most researchers have found that salary is not a major factor in teacher retention. I believe most people go into the field knowing that teaching doesn't equal money. Right now I am an accountant and will be taking a major cut in pay (almost half) to become a teacher in my area.

    From the responses it seems that lack of respect and autonomy seem to be major factors. Also, the inability to discipline children. There have been a lot of articles on how teachers are not properly trained to discipline the children in their classrooms. The majority of their studying is spent on instruction and lesson planning.

    Well thank you for all the responses. It is nice to get a first hand point of view on my topic.
     
  23. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 8, 2009

    According to several of my professors, another factor in teacher burnout/attrition (other than all the reasons already stated) may be more internally driven. We go into the profession as perfectionists - always trying to better ourselves constantly, being "reflective." Some may feel that we haven't succeeded if some of our students don't make the grade. IOW, we are our own worst critics, and if we think we aren't doing enough, despite our efforts, it isn't hard for some to give up and leave the profession.

    One of my instructors flat out asked us, "What is an acceptable failure rate for your students?" Meaning what % of students who can't make the grade is acceptable to you? He told us that this is one of the most difficult questions for teachers to answer for themselves.
     
  24. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    760
    Likes Received:
    1

    Dec 8, 2009

    I would agree with the perfectionist statement. I was always a great student- never really struggled with anything. I think I am not so happy because this job is a struggle every day and I am not perfect at it.

    I think I am probably not going to work again next year (this is my first) but it is mostly family reasons. My DH and I are quickly learning just how demanding his job is. He cannot give me any help at home and I am finding it really hard to adequately take care of the home, meals, shopping, and all the extra jobs while working full time. It is just too much, but that is a whole other story. I really feel like the pay is secondary to me. DH supports us and I have not touched any of my pay yet. We are fortunate that is our situation. So I am probably throwing off your poll, but I bet a lot of teachers have non-standard reasons for leaving the profession. I will probably teach again when our home situation changes.
     
  25. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    1,095
    Likes Received:
    2

    Dec 8, 2009

    1 - Reality Check - We get into the career because we want to make things happen. The reality is that we're expected to do more and more with less and less resources. I don't have a problem with expecting a lot out of people, but expecting insane jumps with reduced funding is stupid.

    2 - Classroom Management - If you can't manage your kids, it's a miserable existance and you will leave. There's already a big emphasis on this aspect, but I don't think it's enough. I think teachers in their first 3 years should be intensively watched and helped in classroom management. Instead, we graduate them and throw them to the wolves. The strong survive, but a number of promissing teachers die.

    3 - Time to Call Parents - Parents are our best resources, but I have never met a teacher who had adequate time to involve the parents of low performing students. It's easy with high performers, but they don't need it. The low performers NEED parent-teacher communication but its so time consuming and we barely have time to get our grading done.........much less plan a diferentiate lesson and call our parents.




    For the record, I work 2 jobs to make ends meet. I meet with students every morning, but I paralegal at nights and can't meet after school. My kids need and want more teaching time, but I can't do that and pay my bills.

    Expect a LOT from teachers, as we already do. But don't keep playing pile on and keep cutting back on resources while expecting more and more and more.

    I'd be delighted to simply be paid for 1 hour a week of parent call time. Require me to spend 1 hour a week at the telephone and pay me for it. It would be GREAT.
     
  26. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    1

    Dec 9, 2009

    I'm a new teacher in an urban public school. This is an important fact that differentiates me from others.

    1. Poor administrative support. Administration is usually very inefficient in many cases and may be soul crushing in some. The combination of meetings, administrative requirements, bad curriculum requirements, tyrannical/unfair/incompetent administrators alone are enough to suck the life from any good teacher. Because it is the public sector, education jobs aren't subject to the same competitive pressures one finds in the private sector. So it is easy for terrible administrators to hang on the same position for years and years. The superintendent is the boss of most districts, and they change frequently because they too are crushed by their own responsibilities to the public clamor. When the super changes, there is a possibility the administration may change and get shaken up with the new super. In a chronically underperforming urban district, the various changes from different supers over the years haven't created a lot of positive consistency.

    2. Unreasonable expectations. Teachers are expected to take any group of kids under any circumstance and produce great academic results. The toxic combination of bad classroom management, poor parental support, poor administrative organization and other social ills too numerous to list here make the expectations incredibly difficult for many teachers. Teaching performance is heavily linked to student test performance today. To take a line from sales, "You hit your numbers or you're out".

    3. Poor relative salary. This is the first job in which I've had to buy office equipment including copy paper and most of the supplies the students use. Good teachers have a lot of out of pocket expenses that really begin to eat at your budget. Given the level of time that we commit to tutoring, afterschool events, and the numerous other obligations that a good teacher will take, our pay really isn't that high. I don't even want to get into the stress. My district pays very well because the union is strong, and even here, the highest paid teacher only gets 70-80k.

    4. No performance pay. In the corporate world, it is not unreasonable to command more pay if you're better at the job than the average worker in your field. In teaching, the genius teacher who can work miracles with the toughest students and no support will only get the same pay as an average teacher. It really is a terrible disincentive to work hard for any teacher who wants to do the right thing.

    5. Burn out. Combine the above listed perks, and you will get a terrible combination of stresses that will wear down a lot of good teachers. If you have missionary zeal like many of the TFA kids, you may be able to work like a crazy person for a few years against all odds. But, even they don't stick around long.

    6. Charter schools. Good charter schools may be the future that frees public education from the above headaches. All is not lost.
     
  27. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,225
    Likes Received:
    1

    Dec 9, 2009

    Hey! Wait a minute. Performance pay is ridiculous! No way will I get paid based on my students' pay. I teach in a drug and crime infested neighborhood. My students are surviving. Education is not a priority to most of them. Some of them live in conditions that you and I could never imagine. I have some students who are boarder line MR and can barely write their name, but they have to take these tests. Why should my pay be based on a test? Genmai, if you work at an urban school you would understand how unfair performance pay is.
     
  28. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Messages:
    2,836
    Likes Received:
    314

    Dec 9, 2009

    What about performance pay based on gains and not a particular score/benchmark? (Not agreeing either way, just curious about the impending discussion.)
     
  29. marrbarr

    marrbarr Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2009
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 9, 2009

    one more reason

    Almost every teacher loved being in school when they were younger and they wanted to be teachers of all those kids who love school. Then they find out that most kids dislike, or tolerate at best, school for a whole range of reasons. Teaching kids who don't like school isn't fun. Then add in all the reasons stated above.
     
  30. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2006
    Messages:
    6,181
    Likes Received:
    1

    Dec 9, 2009

    I just started teaching my fifth year. I pretty much threw in the towel last year and decided that I never wanted to teach again.

    I had a P who destroyed my self-esteem and confidence in myself as a teacher. I won't go into details, but at this particular district that I am currently working at, the admins do not take care of their teachers. I do not feel welcomed in this district. I have worked for two years in a nearby district and feel wanted and needed there. They show that they care about us. Unfortunately, they've had to pink slip a lot of teachers. Anyways, for me, it's the admins.
     
  31. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    1,095
    Likes Received:
    2

    Dec 9, 2009

    Leadership makes ALL the difference in the world peachy. Don't give up on teaching, math teachers are in demand (even with cut backs.)

    Go looking for another school and interview them instead of letting them interview you. Take the attitude of "you need me" and ask them hard questions that will tell you whether you want to work there or not.

    Ask to interview current teachers who they employ and come up with questions that will tell you what to expect.

    You can find the job you want, but it's not going to come to you. You have to go find it and now is the time. You've got months to go looking.
     
  32. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 11, 2009

    In addition, having to be a political football is a source of stress. Unlike the medical and legal professions, education is probably one of the fields where powers who aren't in the profession have a lot more clout to shape (hijack) education policies. Classic example is NCLB. I'm not all that optimistic about Race to the Top - it might be more of "old wine in new bottles".
     
  33. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,482
    Likes Received:
    96

    Dec 11, 2009

    I nearly quit after my first year of teaching. The main reasons were lack of administrative support, poor mentoring, the overwhelming demands, and a few terribly difficult parents. It took me nearly a year to learn how to love working with kids again. Pay wasn't an issue though it was very low.
     
  34. newexperiences

    newexperiences Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 12, 2009

    I'm actually very happy with my salary. The problem I find is that the stress of dealing with all the things surrounding teaching get to be too much (disciplining the kids, angry parents, high expectations, demanding workload).
     
  35. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,231
    Likes Received:
    65

    Dec 12, 2009

    I love teaching, but it would be so much easier without the students.
     
  36. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,482
    Likes Received:
    96

    Dec 12, 2009

    I love teaching, but it would be much easier without the parents.
     
  37. maya5250

    maya5250 Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Messages:
    370
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 12, 2009

    :lol:
     
  38. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    5

    Dec 12, 2009

    :yeahthat:

    And the administration
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 407 (members: 0, guests: 391, robots: 16)
test