A while ago I was contacted by Erika Phyall from USC Rossier Online to see whether I would be interested in using the infographic below on my blog, given my interest in, and passion for, all things education.
The issue of teacher retention - and particularly of retaining teachers who are passionate, caring and knowledgable in teaching and learning - has been one I've been thinking about for many years.
How DO we keep the best while making sure that they also have a life outside of school, do not burn out through their passionate commitment to what they do and the learners they interact with, ensure that they develop professionally and, most importantly in my mind, retain their passion for this career they have chosen?
The infographic is an interesting one and possibly raises more questions that it answers. The first line is scary - '30% of our teachers quit within the first 2 years." I can remember being really concerned with how few of my graduating year were still teaching after 5 years. I wonder if the retention rates are the same in other countries, or is this figure unique to the US? My gut, and conversations I've had with teachers around the world tells me that this is not a situation unique to the US.
The first years of teaching are indeed the hardest, but do they really ever get any easier? Does the 'difficulty' just shift to other areas? Why are we losing teachers at such an alarming rate? I remember a discussion earlier this year around the fact that there are many 'older' teachers staying in the profession longer but we are losing our younger teachers soon after graduation. Why? Is it that our support systems aren't as strong as we believe for our Beginning Teachers. Is it that they are suddenly left on their own when the support ends after the first 2 years - in New Zealand at least?
Are the issues more complex and it is something that is fundamentally wrong with where our system is heading and we are losing our creative, passionate teachers as they become stifled by constant testing and assessment. I think this issues goes far deeper than we think. There is a great deal of discussion around this particular issue world-wide at present - what are your thoughts? Has this always been an issue and is only now being addressed by the more vocal among us?
The infographic, while being US-based, is still relevant to the situation around the world in my opinion. I would love to read your thoughts on this.