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Why Are Teachers Leaving?

This is what I know from listening to many teachers that have already quit and from my own experience where I was tempted to leave.

  1. For most teachers, it is not the kids. Yes, there are always some challenging students but overall, the kids are the best part of the job.

  2. Too many demands of a teacher. Teaching, done well, is a very time consuming job. When teachers are asked to do “extra” duties above and beyond their job of teaching, this is exhausting, draining and hurts kids. Teachers need the TIME to do their job of: lesson planning, grades, actual teaching time, assessments, etc… If teachers could just teach, more would stay to do the job.

  3. Not enough support from the office for challenging students. This is a common complaint. Consequences for poor behavior are not effective when they are too weak and/or inconsistent. This can frustrate teachers, especially new ones.

  4. New teachers not feeling fully prepared. Historically, new teachers did traditional student teaching, working with an experienced Master Teacher before having their own classroom. This picture has changed dramatically where the vast majority of new teachers are interns and have not had the true student teaching experience. This is tough on new teachers and has caused too many to want to give up and quit. I recommend returning to the traditional student teaching model or a hybrid version of this so that new teachers have more support before they are on their own.

  5. For me, it was very frustrating that there is no room for advancement in teaching unless you become an administrator. You can be an effective teacher with 25 + years of experience and you are still, well, a teacher. There should be a way for teachers to take on more responsibility and move up the “education” ladder if they choose to do so. This could be a Teacher-1, Teacher-2, etc… where the experienced teachers have more responsibility helping new teachers or managing programs for increased pay, challenge and title.

Final Thought: If you feel like quitting, consider reading my book, "Wait, Don't Quit." I understand why you might be thinking of leaving teaching, but we need you.

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