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Status Quo Fatigue


A new study on teacher turnover found that teachers often leave the profession due to tensions with school officials and fellow educators over differing teaching philosophies and school policies, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Nationwide, one third of the teachers leave the profession within their first three years, and by the end of five years, only 40 to 50 percent of the teachers remain.

Four researchers at Georgia Southern University interviewed 134 teachers at a large metropolitan elementary school to study teacher turnover. One unique aspect of the study was that it was suggested by the schools’ teachers, who wanted to understand why so many of their colleagues have left, according to says Barbara Meyers, chair of the GSU Department of Early Childhood Education.

The teachers who remained said they did so due to close relationships with fellow teachers and administrators, the diverse student body, and the academic environment.
The teachers who left the school, on the other hand, were often those who challenged the status quo and were dubbed “troublemakers,” explained Brian Lack, one of the GSU researchers.

“People who want to bring radical forms of change are often the ones who are driven out,” he said.

Many reform models call on the principals to change the status quo, but Lack said this was not the case in the study.

“What you see is stuff coming down from the board of education and the county offices just being accepted as the status quo,” Lack said


Great! Now they are starting to get it!
Most teachers leave because they are forced to accept wrong philosophies.

Good substitutes leave because their many handlers are really just enforcers of the worst aspects of the status quo. No one even bothers to ask them if they would like to teach. Many are simply told to "do as we say."

Maybe now, someone will do a systematic study on why substitutes leave. Are they all troublemakers too?

This is an interesting problem, and I think it applies to many, if not most, jobs. We used to kid that our administrators were born with "infused knowledge" --- when you know all the answers from the day of your birth, there isn't much room for innovation ... unless it comes from them :)

It has often been noted that new hires (teachers) are the best way to evaluate what you are doing. Most of us who have been around for a while have survived by growing numb to the silliness; they see for what it is ... fossilized behavior(s). I think we could learn a great deal from them if we would listen, and if they would hang in there long enough to tell us ....

In my experiences with new teachers, I have not found that they challenge the status quo as much as much as they don’t know or understand the status quo. More often than not new teachers have not had an opportunity to learn the culture (or the way things are done) of the school/school district. In an attempt to handle the day-to-day demands of the responsibilities and requirements of teaching, they have to hit the ground running. In addition, many new teachers are immersed into school settings that are so drastically different from the schools they attended or the schools in which they did their student teaching. It is a culture shock of sorts. The diversity, condition of the schools, and the policies require adjustments that are not easily made by some new teachers, and it is not because they are resistant but they are unconsciously unaware of what they don't know. Those teachers who do adjust are usually the ones who accept support, seek out support, are not afraid to fail but rather learn from their failures, and are highly reflective. New Teacher Coaches such as myself, successfully support new teachers through their first year of teaching by providing in-class support and availing ourselves to them on a constant basis. The support includes everything from informing them of and explaining policies, navigating curriculum documents, cognitive coaching, co-teaching, demonstrating and modeling the teaching of procedures, strategies, lessons, and much more. My caseload is not being touted as the representative sample that explains why new teachers leave or stay. It has, however, provided me with an insight which allows me to respond to the findings from the deep in the inside. New teachers need to be supported through their first three years if we truly want to retain them and maximize student achievement.

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Recent Comments

  • Vickie B: In my experiences with new teachers, I have not found read more
  • tim: This is an interesting problem, and I think it applies read more
  • Norm: Great! Now they are starting to get it! Most teachers read more




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