District Administration - November/December 2010 - (Page 89)
supervisor’s opinion • eamonn o’Donovan
They have a broader range of needs than just curriculum and instruction.
Who Would Want to be a neW teacher these days? only the very hardy, that’s for sure. Most of you can probably remember your first teaching assignment—the unruly student, the difficult parent, the office manager with the key to the office supplies just beyond your reach. new-teacher travails, mishaps and mistakes are a staple of lunchroom legend. It’s much tougher now. Many teachers simply give up on the profession and move on within the first few years. according to Project lead, a 2009 report funded by the Jones Foundation, 50 percent of all certified public school teachers permanently leave the teaching profession before the end of their fifth year of teaching. In a 2008 paper from the national bureau of economic Research, it was reported that almost a quarter of entering public school teachers leave during the first three years. If you go to any new teacher blog, you will hear how rough things are. take this example: “being a first-year teacher has many challenges. Mostly, no one thinks you’re going to be able to last” (yearoneteacher.blogspot.com; posted by The braddy Family, december 2007). economic roadblocks The current economic condition makes it even harder for new teachers. on September 1, 2010, the Orange County Register in orange County, Calif., reported that at least 1,370 of about 2,788 employees targeted for layoffs or contract releases in the county had their notices rescinded or were rehired. In other words, half were still out of work as the new school year began. This story is replicated across the country. economic survival and dogged resilience are required “new teacher skills.” The labor pool is deep in California, as many schools have released teachers due to the ongoing budget problems in the state. as a human resources professional, I interviewed many teachers this past summer for a very small number of elementary teaching
new Teachers need support
There is a cost to districts in terms of lost staff development when these teachers walk out the door. The u.S. department of labor estimates the cost of replacing these teachers to be $2.2 billion annually (alliance for excellent education, 2005). Honing Young Talent Think about how the current economic crisis has made the early years of teaching exponentially tougher for those teachers unlucky enough to have entered the profession since 2008. Many are asked to teach with reduced resources and in less than ideal conditions, and then they are thanklessly released or threatened with release each year. Many states have new-teacher support programs that are often tied to reaching fully certified or credentialed status. For example, California offers the beginning teacher Support and assessment Program (btSa), a performance and content standards-based approach to helping teachers develop their teaching skills through inquiry and support from mentor teachers. It is a state requirement that teachers complete a two-year induction program of support and assessment during the first two years of teaching in order to earn a California Clear teaching Credential. These programs are very important to help new teachers become effective teachers quickly. The idea would seem to be that if teachers are provided intense support in curriculum and instruction from the outset, they will become more effective sooner, thereby improving student success. In theory, they will likely stick with teaching longer given this increased support at the beginning of their careers. This kind of support is essential, but it is not enough. Principals need to support new teachers in these programs, as they are often seen as “one more thing” by new teachers already swamped by the challenges of making it through the day with their students. They should engage with new teachers during
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positions. They came with a wealth of staff development, as many saw this as currency in a difficult labor market. They were adept at raising student test scores and, as experienced job hunters, they shared student achievement data during the interview. In other words, they were excellent teacher candidates who could not find a landing place to call home. They shared stories that would make you wonder why they kept trying to get a job in teaching at all. In their short time in education, many had changed classrooms, schools, or districts more than once. They had been successful in their assignments, yet they had been laid off each year. They understood the economic realities of schools but felt abandoned and disillusioned. Many said that they were about to give up and try something else. as we lose effective new teachers, we are losing the future teacher leaders at our schools. There are serious consequences to this. Practically speaking, this attrition is detrimental to student achievement, as relatively experienced teachers will be replaced by new teachers beginning again at the bottom of a steep learning curve. teacher attrition also causes many schools to be staffed with a large number of less qualified teachers at the beginning of each new school year, and this trend is more pronounced in lower-performing schools. In addition, those who stay in the profession tend to move from lower-performing schools to higher-performing schools. This perpetuates the learning gap between rich and poor students.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - November/December 2010
District Administration - November/December 2010
From the Editor
Black Children Still Left Behind
ARRA Funds Empower Schools to Power Down
A Call for Technology Leadership
Readers Pick Top 100 Products of the Year
District Administration - November/December 2010