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TEACHER TURNOVER

Michala Zembas
EDTHP 115 Homework 3

Future educators of America do not begin their journey by saying, “I want to be a teacher

because I will be world famous and make a fortune.” Instead, future teachers begin their career

saying, “I want to give back to the community and inspire the minds and hearts of my students

one day.” This is an ideology that is common among teachers. The teaching profession is often

regarded by other professionals in the U.S. as being inferior and not as challenging of an

occupation compared to doctors, lawyers, engineers, and more. These degrading opinions are all

too common among society members today. In reality, no one else would be able to be doctor,

lawyer, nurse, engineer, architect or writer without the teachers that have taught them throughout

their life. This is what Zakaria is saying in his statement. No matter how ridiculed and looked

down upon teachers are today, teachers are still there to create students and develop them into

productive members of society. If teachers fail, then all of the other professions of the world will

also fail. Because teachers are currently regarded in the United States as not being true

“professionals,” teacher turnover is becoming a common issue with consequences that the public

education system constantly faces.

According to Christopher Redding, a researcher at the University of Florida’s School of

Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education, 16% of public school teachers

leave their jobs every year, either for a new teaching position or they leave the teaching

profession altogether. Teacher turnover has a large impact on the students that have to deal with

this issue as well. According to Redding’s research, if a teacher leaves their job in the middle of

the school year, it can be the equivalent of losing between 32 and 72 days of instruction in the

classroom. This is not good for the students who are losing learning time in the classroom, and it

is also not good for their developmental needs because they are losing a connection that they
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once had with the teacher that left. This can lead to bad relationships with other teachers as well

as family members in the future (Redding, 2018). Teacher turnover is also something that is

more of a problem in high-poverty schools. Because these schools tend to be difficult in which to

teach, novice teachers leave their jobs because they feel as though they cannot perform well.

This creates an unfortunate cycle of new teachers in high poverty schools that will just keep

leaving. High poverty students are also the ones that need the best teachers, but because there are

low numbers of veteran teachers in these schools, it is very difficult (Sawchuk & Rebora, 2016).

The accountability movement is one cause for the rate of teacher turnover in the United

States. Along with many policies like ESSA, and the more recent Common Core State Standards

that some states have adopted, comes a lot of stressors for teachers. Because teachers’ jobs

depend so heavily on student performance today, novice teachers feel as though they cannot

succeed at teaching. Teachers that changed professions altogether also say that they are happier

than when they were in their teaching positions (Sawchuk & Rebora, 2016). When it comes to

teacher accountability, there is something that can be done at the federal and state level, but more

specifically, there is something that can be done about teacher turnover in localized schools.

A specific solution to this problem could take place in the federal and state governments.

A policy at this level could be eliminating Common Core, or eliminating state standardized

testing; this would reduce teacher accountability, and subsequently reduce teacher stressors

making teacher turnover decrease. More specifically, there are policies that individual school

districts can adopt to help reduce the rate of teacher turnover. One of the most beneficial

resources for a novice teacher is a mentor teacher, a veteran teacher that can provide assistance

in their professional development and be there for necessary support (Redding, 2018). Along the

same lines, principals that help to coach novice teachers see a lower rate of teacher turnover as
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well. Implementing a policy in schools where all novice teachers must be assigned a mentor

teacher or be coached and evaluated by administration could significantly decrease teacher

turnover as well as decrease the stressors that seem to largely affect new teachers.

Being a teacher is a calling. Despite the ridicule, despite the perception that teachers are

less of a professional, despite the feeling of inferiority placed upon teachers, a teacher has one of

the most important jobs in the entire world. As education activist Malala Yousafzai (n.d.) once

said, “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”

References

Yousafzai, M. (n.d.). Malala Yousafzai Quotes (Author of I Am Malala). Retrieved from

https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/7064545.Malala_Yousafzai
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Redding, C. (2018, September 11). Teacher turnover is a problem – here's how to fix it.

Retrieved from http://news.ufl.edu/articles/2018/09/teacher-turnover-is-a-problem--heres-

how-to-fix-it.php

Sawchuk, S., & Rebora, A. (2016, October 4). New Teachers Make Up a Significant Segment

of Profession. Retrieved from https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/10/05/new-

teachers-make-up-a-significant-segment.html