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Unfortunately today there is a lot of bad press about the state of

education in the UK. The bad schools seem to hit the headlines,
disgraced teachers are splashed over the front of the tabloids and
exam result scandals seem to be commonplace. Sadly the nature of the
media means that bad news is good news for them and so we only tend
to hear the worst of it.
But there are rays of hope out there in the system because certainly
not all schools are bad and there are many wonderful teachers out
there working with the next generation. I met one recently and she
kindly shared with me her thoughts on education. It is an inspiring
read and will give those of us who care about education hope and for
once, a bit of good news about one of the most important parts of our
society. I have quoted her thoughts verbatim and they are published
on this site with her permission.
".I have had an enthusiasm and concern for children and young
people for almost as long as I can remember. This, combined with a
commitment to understanding how we can all live happier and more
fulfilling lives, has led me to a range of different environments and
information sources during the past decade. I have learnt how to use
my talent in building relationships with children more effectively, and
I have had time to develop my thoughts on education
From birth until the age of formal learning, children learn naturally
and instinctively. They observe the real world around them; explore;

experiment; persevere; and develop - all fired by their own motivation

and at their own individual paces. Their achievements are spectacular.
With only the support of others, they are the masters of their own
learning, pursuing what they need and what interests them.
Many adults also learn and develop in this way, though not always
with the same self-discipline! I have seen first hand the need for
different approaches to children (by parents and educators) and this
motivates me to read /observe /research /discuss and learn
effectively. My father has a keen interest in particular aspects of
history and chooses to pursue this interest by gathering information
and increasing his own knowledge.
However, whilst we were successful academically (in the accepted
sense) during our years of formal learning - it did not rival what we
achieved beforehand or have achieved since. If learning can be such a
joy, why was it not for all those years? I recall long periods of
boredom and frustration; I recall lessons that gave us such a poor
grasp of the subject in hand, that the grasp was soon lost.
Recently, I chose to attend a seminar on 'motivation in the classroom'
at the British Education Show. The speaker was Ian Gilbert (who runs
a company called Independent Thinking) and he put it succinctly,
children (in fact all learners) need to know 'what is in it for me?' ' We
need to know the "why" before the "how" is even relevant'. Children
have proved that they learn actively before they ever set foot inside a
classroom, and yet when they get there they are usually given passive
roles. It is a little like setting a television on standby. Learning is not a
receptive task; it is active, pro-active even. Yet, if they are able to see
or feel a need for something; if they have a personal interest in
something; or if they just want the challenge; they have the "why"
and are ready to learn actively. Children spend far more of their lives
outside of school, out in the 'real world', and they deserve to see that

what they do is realistic, relevant and necessary. The motivation is

then intrinsic and the "how", the learning itself, actually means
something and can be absorbing.
Responsibility, independence and choice are essential for effective and
enjoyable learning. Teachers do not need to give up all control in
order to share some with the children. In fact, the respect they may
then gain can make the arrangement even more effective.
A relaxed and lively atmosphere is helpful; and not the risky
hindrance many believe. Similarly, children, in fact, rarely waste time
and play. Let's trust them more and pressure them less.
We live in a world which requires literacy, numeracy and,
increasingly, computer skills. Therefore, we need to allow children to
see the real need for these skills and support them in gaining these
skills at their own, individual paces.
If teachers always expect particular outcomes and impose these on
children, then they are limiting imagination and creativity greatly.
Furthermore, they are weakening self-esteem and encouraging fear of
failure. How much more driven might children be if they believe that
"anything is possible"? How much more successful will their learning
be if they see failure simply as an outcome, rather than as a problem,
or a weakness?

The subtleties of teachers' (and all adults') language (including body
language) are important. If we show children that we believe in them,
and their abilities, then they are encouraged to believe in themselves.
Being extra positive about what a child might achieve can change
what we believed to be realistic for them. Let's not label them, and
prevent them from change. Let's encourage them to appreciate where
they are now and get excited about where they can go if they choose.
We can support them all they ask. We are also models for the
children. They observe us more closely than we tend to remember. For
example, that they will notice if we treat our colleagues differently
from the way we encourage them to treat each other. Or if we do not
believe in ourselves the way we hope they will believe in themselves.
Children need other vital skills, which, in my experience, are often
neglected. We need to actively encourage, and give time for, work on
social relationships, teamwork and co-operation, concentration skills,
independence and self-esteem, empathy and understanding More
than just a few minutes circle time once a week, or a group task with
no real purpose and which the children are not able to follow through.
For example, I encourage children to work together and help each
other. Both parties benefit, no matter what their respective ages may
Each of us is different, in terms of our learning styles, as well as our
strengths and talents. A child who has a particular empathy for others
should be celebrated and encouraged as much as a child who excels in
Mathematics. Achievement on canvas and looking after the school
vegetable patch deserve the same praise as a piece of writing. All these
skills are important in 'the outside world'. Furthermore, allowing for
different learning styles might mean that one child opts to present a

topic he/she has researched through artwork or oral narration, while

another might present it in writing. Being proficient in all methods is
desirable, but opportunities for personal choice aid effectiveness,
motivation and enjoyment.
When I think about how much children and young people are
required to sit still for their learning, I consider how it feels sitting in a
cramped economy class aeroplane seat for hours. It feels unnatural
and uncomfortable. We are even told that it is bad for us. As I have sat
at the computer typing this statement, I have been free to get a drink,
or go to the bathroom or simply to get up and move around when I
have needed to. Nobody told me when I should do these things, I just
knew when I needed to and was then able to return to the computer
and continue working.
I often consider how tongue-tied children are required to be. How to
'get children to be quiet' is a big issue in schools. However, aren't we
expecting too much? If we continually ask children to suppress their
urges to speak, they are bound to (and do) 'fail' on a regular basis. Of
course, there are times when it is appropriate to stay quiet, e.g. school
assemblies, but if we also order them to eat their lunches in silence - a
time when there is no obvious need - how can children be expected to
appreciate the really important times? Let's be more realistic on this
one. And, let's let them ask questions!
I have really enjoyed writing this statement. I can see the need for
what I believe; and I have hope that it is possible. This is what all
children should be experiencing in their learning. I have felt the
exhaustion, frustration and despair of trying to push children to

"learn to swim against the tide", trying to force them to learn in

unnatural ways. I hope for something different."
These thoughts come from a lady called Victoria Berridge who is a
Primary School Teacher but now works as an educational presenter
for Positively MAD, a company dedicated to making a difference to
the next generation.
What are your thoughts on education?

Matt L. Writes Feature Article for Teacher Magazine

This week's feature article in Teacher Magazine, at the top of the page on their website, and emailed to their
subscribers, was written by our own Middle School Head, Matt Levinson. Matt says that it grew out of the
faculty's discussions in recent weeks about how Nueva handles the holiday season, part of a series of
conversations about core values that the faculty began last summer at the retreat. Matt joins a surprisingly large number of Nueva
faculty who have published, both articles and books: Kim Saxe, Fred Estes, Alison Fox Mazzola, Matt Berman, Tom Murray, David
Louis, Wendy Feltham, Lisa Dettloff, Peggy McLean, Carolee Fucigna, Janice Toben, Emily Kolatch, Dan Bennett, Daniela Steinsapir,
and Emily Strem.
Here is the article from Teacher Magazine.

'Tis the Season for Teaching Globally

By Matt Levinson
A few years ago, my 1st-grade son was asked at a school lunch table whether Santa Claus existed. He answered no. The question was
innocent enough. My sons reply came from his own family experience. We do not celebrate ChristmasI am Jewish and my wife is

Word quickly spread of my sons holiday transgression to the other students in his grade, eventually reaching us at home. We received a
phone call from his teacher, who asked to speak with him about spreading the word that Santa Claus was made up. Other parents were
upset that our son was allegedly spreading heresy. We did not know how to respond. Our son finally explained his innocent attempt to
answer the simple question, "Does anybody at this lunch table not believe in Santa Claus?" But, that was after we lived through several
days of angst that our son was ruining the winter holiday for his peers.
This story is far from unique in schools. From candy canes to Christmas trees, December brings great amounts of stress to school
administrators as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of religious pluralism, multiculturalism, and political correctness. There are
no easy answers for how to handle the winter holidays, from Christmas to Chanukah to Kwanzaa. Some schools choose to sweep the
holidays under the rug and avoid any conversation having to do with religious tradition. Others mask the holiday season with the winter
solstice, while still other schools go full tilt in adorning the front hallways and classrooms with Christmas trees and Menorahs.
Since President-elect Obama has weighed in on college footballs Bowl Championship Series by calling for a playoff system with a clear
winner, I wonder if he might do the same to help resolve the conflict schools face in deciding which holiday tradition they should
acknowledge and which to teach about. I am guessing the president-elect would take the opportunity to educate us by breaking down
the proverbial walls in our schools and teach them all.
Thomas Friedman in his new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, cautions against this post-9/11 American fortress mentality. Instead, he
advocates openness and demands that America break free from its "defensive crouch" to "tap the vast rivers of idealism, innovation,
volunteerism, and philanthropy that still flow through our nation." Schools need to do the same. Instead of avoiding the holidays and
hunkering down into a bunker mentality, in an effort to be sensitive to all, schools need to be bold and embrace the opportunity to
deepen understanding of our families and communities.
The holiday or winter concert often calls up strong feelings in a school community. School music conductors labor over song choice and
dread the day they release the song list to the community. Not surprisingly, consensus is impossible. Some parents fire off incendiary
emails, lambasting the school for teaching about the birth of Jesus in songs like "Away in a Manger," a religious Christmas carol first
published in a Lutheran Sunday school book in 1885. Yet this is the perfect chance to teach students about Lutheranism and the
Protestant Reformation, the dramatic 16th-century revolution spearheaded by Martin Luther, who called into question Catholic dogma.
Parents often hear the words to the song and cringe at the religiosity and point of view being "proselytized" to the young students who
sing them. The solution? Ban the song and all like it. Buttress the wall and keep understanding and appreciation of culture, history, and
tradition away from impressionable children. That approach sorely misses the point of education, especially in the 21st century, when
now more than ever, it is critical to cultivate global understanding.
Holiday concerts create the chance for children to learn songs about Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanzaa and to gain an appreciation
for the different perspectives each of these holidays brings to music. Students could walk away with a greater understanding of cultural
and religious diversity. In addition, the spontaneous conversation in the classroom can often spin into a discussion about religious
holidays and celebrations in which children learn about and appreciate different families, histories, and backgrounds. Schools should
encourage these conversations and create an atmosphere where all children feel comfortable having them.
Three years later, my son understands the holiday season. We have had many conversations to teach him about the range of beliefs
that exist in communities at this time of year. He has a better sense of his own identity as a blend of Jewish and Buddhist and, in turn,
can appreciate cultures other than his own. We are grateful that we had the teachable moment with him when he was in 1st grade.
Thomas Friedman is dead-on in his assessment for the need to remain open to diverse belief systems in the post-9/11 world. Schools
need to grab this same mantle, teach pluralism, sing songs from a wide range of traditions, and embrace a vision of global

My mom is a teacher and so was my grandma. Teaching may be the greatest profession because teachers dont
only teach us concepts and lessons within the four-walled classroom. They also mold us into a better person.

The best teachers teach both the right knowledge and right values. This hub is a tribute for all the hardworking
teachers in the world.

Teacher's day is celebrated every year on the 5th September in India.
It is a dedication to Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan who was the President of India.
He was basically a dedicated teacher and a believer in education.
The birthday of this great scholar is been observed as Teacher's day.
Since I was a teacher, I received SMS, e-mails and greeting cards from my students who are now teachers too.
They remember me on this auspicious day as their beloved teacher.
I feel happy to receive their greetings and good words every year on this particular day.
The teachers range from school to colleges.
In fact, the responsibility of school teachers is very important as compared to that of college teachers.
Teaching children is very difficult, because the teacher needs lot of patience and dedication.
Women teachers are good at it and there are a good number of them devote their life for teaching.
Someone said that teachers bring you the brighter side life.
True, we should agree, because the knowledge we receive guide us to progress in the proper path.
Education is the basic culture we need to lead a good life.
Teacher, Parent and Student are the three people involved.
The harmony of these three brings better education.
Teachers of today are of various kinds.
Most of them opt for teaching, when they fail to get other attractive opportunities in life.
No one thinks that teaching is equivalent to a profession like engineering, medicine, law or information technology.

Although, much is talked about teaching and teachers, they are kept in the low side of remuneration.
Those who come to teaching, become best teachers because of their love for this noble profession.
Teachers especially school teachers invariably lead a simple life.

May be they do not have much money to lead a luxury life.

However, they teach their student the best things of life.
We do find some teachers are harsh to their students.
During the past, students used to have lot of respect towards teachers.
In the present day, students do have respect for their teacher, but with a difference.
Students talk to the teachers freely and teachers too are more friendly with their wards.
More freedom is enjoyed by the students of advance countries like the US.
Students call their teacher by first name.
Thus, the association with teachers is greater.
However such relationships have not yet come to our country like India.
Moral values are taught to every student who tries to absorb and adopt.
Teachers learn many things from their students and vice versa.
Teachers make teaching more enjoyable by simple stories through joy and happiness.
Young children, grown ups and the college going teenagers are being managed by teachers.
The day these students pass from one class to an upper class, is the real achievement day for the teachers.
Students look for good teachers who can inspire and motivate.
Therefore, teachers have to learn more about education technology and update their knowledge regularly.
It helps not only the teacher but also the students.
Each student is proud of his or her school or college.
When a student enters his earning age, most of them end up as the best engineers, doctors and businessmen who
visit their school or college and meet the new students and teachers and tell them about their past school or college
Some of them even contribute money, books, scholarships etc., to their alma mater because of their love and affection
to establish a link.
The human gratitude is being seen all over the world.
People prefer to uplift the schools in which they studied.
The teachers are happy to receive such encouraging contributions for their schools and colleges.
The standard of living of college teachers has gone up whereas that of school teachers is still on the brink.
In every Teacher's Day, some selected teachers are being honoured by the Government.
State Governments also honour selected teachers.
These honours are simple encouragements for this particular community.

Above all the greatest honour a teacher gets is a phone call of greetings from one of his unknown students on the
Teacher's Day.
Long live Teacher's Day!


Years in teaching:
What motivates you to become a teacher?

What is teaching as a profession for you?

What are the things that you learn as a teacher?

What are the things that you want your students to

remember of you?

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. HENRY ADAMS
May be it was grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you
are young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you to

make your way through it.

May be like me, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder.
Wouldnt you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom of your busy life
today the way you once did when you are younger?
The last class of my teacher which I attended was about Ulanga Raja (still in the text of Madhyamik syllabus). I was
never a first bencher nor did I like it also. Anyway that doesnt matter since he used to love everyone not like other
teachers who used to care for the students those who tops in the class. No grades were given, but there were interaction
season to discuss problems for we had to appear for the exams at the end of the terminal. No books were required, yet
many topics were covered, including love, work, community, family and last but not the least the text of our syllabus.
At this point, I should say though the last day of my school I hugged my dear teacher and promised to keep in touch, but I
didnt keep in touch. In fact, I lost contacts with most of my friends I knew in school, including my friends with whom I had
my first puff and the first girl I ever woke up in the morning.
Well, I thought about him now and then, the things he had thought about being human and relating to others, but it was
always in the distance, as if from another life. I often thought to meet him but I couldnt make it. But he used to tell us
Accept what you are able to do and what you are able to do, Accept the past as the past, without denying it or
discarding it, Learn to forgive yourself and to forgive others, Dont assume that its too late to get involved.
He used to know me since he was my fathers colleagues elder brother, and had also seen me when I was little. The day
he entered our class he just asked Who is the son of P.G? We all laughed as if P.G is the hospital and who might have
been his son? Then suddenly it clicked that he might have been asking about me since my fathers name was also P.G,
and that was the first time we came to know each other as a student and a teacher. That time he told us I hope that one
day you will think me as your friend which I can realise truly.
His passion for books is real and contagious. He had written many a books among which Khela Gharer Raja awarded
him with the Presidents award in the 1962. He never married in his life and was the founder of the bachelors club Mukta
Brihanga. He had written many an articles in magazines, news dailies, and books. This year also six of his books will be
released in this book fair. He loved to travel, photography, watching television. Even in 80s he had worked in the TV
serials Harsha Vardhan Govardhan, Paliye Khelte Khelte, and many more. But all this he used to do without taking any
money. For him god has given him the talent to write not to sell it. The school is there for his livelihood so why ask more.
Even in this year he got the Abhigyan Purashkar from the Bangla Academy.
Once he told me when my result in the pre-test was poor, So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They
seem half-asleep, even when they are busy doing things they think they are important. This is because they are chasing
the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to your community around you, and devote
yourself to create something that gives you purpose and meaning.
And when he is not with us anymore I can clearly remember those days and desperately wants to go back to those days
which I know is next to impossible. Why are we embarrassed by silence? What comforts do we find in all the noise?
I look back sometimes at the person I was before I rediscovered my old teacher. I want to talk to that person. I want to tell
him what to look our for, what mistakes to avoid. I want to tell him to be more open, to ignore the lure advertised values, to
pay attention when you loved ones are speaking, as if it were the last time you might hear them.
I know I cannot do this. None of us can undo what weve done, or relieve a life already recovered. But if my old teacher
taught me anything at all, it was this: there is no such thing as too late in life.
This article is written as a tribute to Late Nirmalendu Goutam, Presidents award writer and teacher of Nava Nalanda High
School (Calcutta, India)

Inspirational quotes for teachers

If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn. - Ignacio Estrada
"What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state,
than that of the man who instructs the rising generation." - Marcus Tullius Cicero
"Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose. " - Bill Gates
"I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework. " - Lily Tomlin
"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own." - Ben Sweetland
"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken
joy in creative expression and knowledge." - Albert Einstein
"Those who educate children well are more to be honored than parents, for these only gave life, those the art of living well." - Aristotle

"By learning you will teach;

by teaching you will understand."
- Latin Proverb
"Nine-tenths of education is encouragement." - Anatole France
"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you
with a sharp stick called "truth". - Dan Rather
"Teachers should be the highest paid employees on earth" - Tbelle

Funny quotes for teachers

"Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions." -Author Unknown
"The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist." - Maria Montessori
We spend the first twelve months of our children's lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve telling them to sit down and
shut up. -Phyllis Diller
Teachers are those who help us in resolving problems which, without them, we wouldn't have - Author Unknown
"If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure. " - Bill Gates
"I'm an unemployed teacher right now and I'm looking for a place to teach. " -Bobby Knight
"Smartness runs in my family. When I went to school I was so smart my teacher was in my class for five years. " - Gracie Allen
"But I was going to be a teacher my entire life, so I wasn't counting on money to much. " - Clay Aiken
"There are three good reasons to be a teacher - June, July, and August." - Author Unknown
"I may forget my first crush in second grade but never my favorite teacher." - Fehl Dungo

Thank you quotes for teachers

"I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well." - Alexander of Macedon
"I would thank you from the bottom of my heart, but for you my heart has no bottom." - Author Unknown
"It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference." - Tom Brokaw
"He who opens a school door, closes a prison." - Victor Hugo
"I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks." - William Shakespeare

"There's one thing I've always wanted to do before I quit: Retire." Groucho Marx
"The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off." - Abe Lemons

"I'm retired - goodbye tension, hello pension!" - Author Unknown

"Old teachers never die; they just grade away." Author Unknown
"The challenge of retirement is how to spend time without spending money." Author Unknown
"Life begins at retirement." - Author Unknown
"Age is only a number, a cipher for the records. A man can't retire his experience. He must use it." - Bernard Baruch

"Retirement: That's when you return from work one day and say, "Hi, Honey, I'm home - forever." - Gene Perret

February 2008
This issue brief was made possible with the generous support of MetLife Foundation.
What Keeps Good Teachers in the Classroom?
Understanding and Reducing Teacher Turnover
Teachers are crucial to the success of our students. Yet many of them are leaving their schools and
the profession every year, particularly in poorer, lower-performing schools. Several studies have
attempted to identify why teachers leave and how to stem their turnover, but few have identified
the quality of teachers who are departing. As in any profession, not all attrition is bad, but whether
bad or good, it has financial ramifications. This brief explores the costs associated with teachers
leaving the profession and their schools, the characteristics of those likely to leave, and what can
be done to prevent unnecessary and costly turnover.
The costs
Each fall students return to school prepared for the start of another academic year, only to find that
far too many of their teachers have not returned to the classroom with them. An estimated 157,000
men and women leave the field of teaching every year. More than 232,000 others change schools,
in great part because they are in pursuit of better working conditions often found in wealthier,
higher-performing schools. Together, these movers and leavers make up an estimated 12 percent
of the total teacher workforce. And these figures do not include the teachers who retire
The exit of teachers from the profession and the movement of teachers away from low-performing
schools are costly phenomena. Students lose the value of being taught by an experienced teacher,
and schools and districts must recruit and train their replacements.
The costs of teacher attrition, or turnover, can vary widely by district and may include signing

bonuses, subject matter stipends, and other recruiting costs specific to hard-to-staff schools. The
National Commission on Teaching and Americas Future (NCTAF) recently analyzed the different
costs associated with teacher attritionboth for the school and for the districts central office. It
estimates that individual urban schools spend $70,000 a year on costs associated with teacher
transferswhether they leave the district or not. Nonurban schools spend $33,000 each. In
addition to these school-level costs, an urban district central office is estimated to spend another
$8,750 for every teacher that leaves the district entirely while nonurban districts spend $6,250. By
combining these school- and district-level costs, NCTAF places the cumulative costs for all
schools and districts across the countryto hire, recruit, and train the replacement teachersat a
staggering $7.34 billion (Barnes, Crowe and Schaefer 2007). Another study found that, in addition
to the expenses incurred as a result of the recruitment and hiring processes, even more costs are
associated with lost productivity and human capital (Milanowski and Odden 2007).

Using national data from the National Center for Education Statistics that was analyzed by Dr. Richard Ingersoll, 231, 621
teachers are estimated to be movers and 156,552 are estimated to be leavers (excluding retirees).
These dollar amounts, large as they are, do not include any calculation of the price that students
pay when qualified teachers leave, or of the negative effect on academic achievement. Teacher
quality is crucial to student academic achievement (Ferguson and Ladd 1996; Haycock 1998;
Rivkin, Hanushek, and Kain 2002; Rice 2003)especially for students who need good teachers
the most. There is general consensus that the single most important factor in improving any
students performance is the quality of the teacher, but researchers have found that the impact of a
higher-quality teacher is particularly significant for low-performing, minority students (Clotfelter,
Ladd and Vigdor 2007). A study of Chicago public high schools finds that a higher-quality teacher
had the greatest impact, measured by the increase in students test scores, among African
American ninth-grade students (Aaronson, Barrow and Sander 2007). Another study, also focused

on high schools, finds that having a highly qualified teacher may even compensate for racial and
socioeconomic disadvantages (Clotfelter, Ladd and Vigdor 2007). These findings make it clear
that recruiting and developing high-quality teachersand then retaining them in every community
and at every grade levelis critical to providing an equitable education to children across the
Why do teachers leave?
Because many of todays teachers were hired in the 1960s and 1970s and are now approaching
retirement, it has been incorrectly assumed that retirement is the primary reason for the current
teacher turnover (NCTAF 2003). But teacher turnover in individual schools includes both teachers
who transfer from one school to another within a district (movers) and those who leave the district
or the profession entirely (leavers). Retirement accounts for about a third of the public school
teachers who are leavers (31.4 percent), but when examined in the context of total turnover that
public schools experience, retirees are responsible for only 16 percent of the attrition.

Working conditions play a much larger role than retirement in explaining why teachers transfer to
different schools and districts or leave the profession entirely. In an analysis of teacher turnover,
teachers reported retirement as a reason for leaving less often than job dissatisfaction or the pursuit
of another job (Ingersoll 2003). Among public school teachers who transferred from one school to
another, moving to get a better teaching assignment was cited as a deciding factor 38.1 percent of
the time. Similarly, dissatisfaction with workplace conditions (32.7 percent) and dissatisfaction
with the support received from administrators at their previous school (37.2 percent) were equally
cited as other important reasons in their decision to move (NCESa 2007).
A recent MetLife Survey of the American Teacher also finds a clear correlation between quality
school relationships and an increased rate of retention among teachers. Teachers stating that they
were likely to leave the profession were also more likely to express dissatisfaction with their

relationships with parents, the principal, and their students (MetLife 2005). Another study, by the
Center for Teaching Quality, looked specifically at high schools and finds a similar correlation
between better-quality working conditions and decreased teacher turnover. Student achievement
also improves with better working conditions (Center for Teaching Quality 2007).

Using data from the Teacher Follow-up Survey 200405 (NCES), the Alliance for Excellent Education finds that of the 269,600
public school leavers, 31.4 percent (or 84,654) are retirees. Out of the total movers and leavers in the public sector, retirees make
up 16 percent of the turnover [(retirees)/(movers + leavers)].
2 Which teachers leave?
As in any profession, not all turnover is bad, especially if it facilitates the exit of lower-quality
teachers. Common wisdom has held that higher-quality teachers leave at greater rates, but recent
research has called that into question.
Generally speaking, teachers in any phase of their careers who have high academic credentials
(such as being a graduate from a highly selective college or having high undergraduate grade point
averages) are most likely to leave the teaching profession for reasons other than retirement. Those
with strong education credentials (such as certification and an undergraduate degree in education),
on the other hand, are more likely to move between schools, but most likely to stay in the
profession (DeAngelis and Presley 2007; Goldhaber, Gross and Player 2007; NCESb 2007).
New teachers with strong academic qualifications are more likely to move to districts with what
are typically considered more attractive schools or to leave the profession altogether (DeAngelis
and Presley 2007). The selectivity of a teachers undergraduate institution (as measured by
average SAT scores) has also been found to be associated with the likelihood of exiting the
profession. For women, in particular, the chance of this outcome increases by 29 percent as SAT
scores increase by one hundred points (Goldhaber, Gross and Player 2007). Teachers with higher
academic qualifications are especially likely to leave a school whose students are not performing

well academically. For example, teachers who scored higher on the General Knowledge portion of
the certification exam were more likely to leave a school where students did not perform as well
on the standardized English Language Arts test. In contrast, teachers who scored in the lowest
quartile actually showed increased retention. These findings explain why it may be difficult for
low-performing schools to attract and retain better-qualified teachers (Boyd et al. 2005).
On the other hand, those who have invested in credentials specific to teaching are most likely to
stay. For example, women who obtained their National Board certification are 90 percent less
likely to leave the school system and 18 percent less inclined to transfer within the district
(Goldhaber, Gross and Player 2007). Among teachers who had majored in education and who did
leave, the most-cited reason for leaving was family-related (32.1 percent), rather than related to
work conditions or preferences. In contrast, science, math, and engineering majors who left
teaching are most likely to leave for a job outside of education (44.5 percent) (NCESa 2007).
Unsurprisingly, these findings show that those who have invested in their careers as educators are
bound to stay in the field longer. But are the teachers who are staying the best at improving
student achievement? Some researchers have found weak correlations between student
performance and any one particular credentialacademic or educational (Aaronson, Barrow and
Sander 2007; Goldhaber, Gross and Player 2007). On the other hand, a plethora of research
supports that some of these factorsperhaps in combinationdo contribute positively to
producing an effective teacher (Rice 2003; Clotfelter, Ladd and Vigdor 2007). Hence, credentials
alone do not clarify whether the best teachers are leaving the profession or moving away from
disadvantaged schools.
3Are schools losing their best teachers?
For this reason, researchers have undertaken the task of measuring the quality of the teachers
leaving the classroom by developing other variables to answer this crucial question, such as
examining the degree of change in student performance a particular teacher can create after a year
a student spends in his or her classroom.

The good news is that these studies find that the lowest-quality teachers, as measured by this
standard, tend to have higher rates of turnover and the more effective teachers tend to stay. One
study finds that teachers ranked at the bottom in terms of effectiveness turn over more than any
other group. For example, a teacher ranked in the bottom 10 percent of a quality distribution is 13
percent less likely to remain in teaching in the same district the following year than teachers who
rank higher (Aaronson, Barrow and Sander 2007).
Another study finds that, on average, teachers who have been shown to increase their students
academic performance stay in the teaching profession longer and are not necessarily more apt to
leave lower-performing, poorer schools. Although challenging environments generally increase
the likelihood of teacher attrition, those teachers who are deemed more effective are also more
likely to stay in these lower-performing schools (Goldhaber, Gross and Player 2007).
The bad news is that these findings do not hold true for the most-challenging schools. Although
effective teachers generally tend to stay in challenging schools, as teachers become more effective,
they are more likely to move away from the most-challenging schools to schools with relatively
lower concentrations of poverty and higher performance levels (Goldhaber, Gross and Player
2007). Teachers who work in poor schools, as determined by the proportion of students receiving
free and reduced-price lunch, are significantly more likely to leave their school or profession than
those who work in wealthier ones. Those teachers who work in high poverty schools have an
annual turnover rate of 20 percent, while those in low poverty schools have a rate of 12.9 percent
(NCTAF 2003). Moreover, a MetLife survey finds that teachers at-risk of leaving the profession
are also more likely to be teaching in urban, low-income schools with high concentrations of
minority students (MetLife 2005). Low funding levels in high-poverty districts generally do not
allow schools to offer competitive wages and often contribute to ineffective, bureaucratic
recruitment and hiring procedures; challenging work conditions; and inadequate teacher supports
(Levin and Quinn 2003).
The lower turnover rates of effective teachers among challenging schools is encouraging. But

students being served by the most-disadvantaged schools should not be neglected; neither should
the teachers who have the desire and knowledge to contribute to students academic achievement,
but lack the tools necessary to do so. Instead, systems should be designed to ensure that the best
teachers are teaching the students with the highest challenges and that teachers receive the training
and support they need to help students succeed.
4 Success is key to retaining teachers
Certainly, a teachers decision to stay or leave a particular school is contingent on a variety of
factorsranging from teachers personal characteristics to their satisfaction with the schools
environment. However, in all cases, the key seems to lie in the level of success teachers
encounter in raising their students academic performances.
For this reason, giving teachers the supports necessary to succeed is critical. Policy changes and
systemwide improvement efforts should focus on making such success possible. New teachers, in
particular, are at risk of leaving the profession within their first year of teaching if they are
unprepared and unsupported to teach in challenging situations. It is estimated that within the span
of five yearsthe average time it takes for teachers to maximize their students learninghalf of
all new teachers will have exited the profession (Ingersoll 2003). Beginning teachers are routinely
assigned the most difficult classrooms, full of low-performing students at risk of falling behind or
of dropping out. A study of new teachers in Massachusetts finds that one in five received no
operational curriculum at allmeaning teachers were on their own to decide what to teach and
how to teach itand over half encountered a curriculum that specified topics or skills to be taught
but that provided no materials or guidance on how to address them (Kauffman et al. 2002).
Without experience and often lacking complete curricula, these teachers are usually the least
prepared to turn at-risk students around.
Comprehensive induction: Giving teachers the opportunity for success
How can the nation ensure that its new teachers, especially those in struggling schools, stay in the
classroom long enough to make a difference for their students?

Percent Turnover of Beginning Teachers After One Year,

by Amount of Induction Received (2000)
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50%
No Induction
Basic Induction
Basic Induction +
Induc tion
Comprehensive induction has the potential to cut new teacher turnover rates in half. (Smith, T.
and R. Ingersoll. 2004. What are the effects of induction and mentoring on beginning teacher
turnover? American Educational Research Journa l 41(3): 681-714).
Leavers Movers
Comprehensive induction, a program that includes varying degrees of training, support, and
assessment during a teachers first years on the job, proves most effective. Comprehensive
induction combines high-quality mentoring with release time for both new teachers and mentor
teachers to allow them time to usefully engage with one another; targeted and ongoing quality
professional development;

common planning time with other

teachers in the school; and
networking with teachers outside
the school during at least the new
teachers first two years in the
profession. The induction process
culminates with an evaluation to
identify a teachers strengths and
weaknesses, target future
professional development, and
determine if the individual should
move forward in the profession
(Alliance for Excellent Education
2004). The National Educational
Association and the American
5Federation of Teachers support induction programs and the use of standards-based reviews as an
essential element of an effective induction program (American Federation of Teachers 2001;
National Education Agency 2003).
Novice High School Teachers' Plans to Continue
Teaching and Levels of Induction (2005)

Intend to Continue Teaching Plan to Remain in School
New teachers receiving intensive induction are significantly more likely to remain in teaching.
(Kapadia, K., V. Coca, J.Q. Easton. 2007. Keeping new teachers: A first look at the influences of
induction in Chicago Public Schools . Chicago, IL: CCSR.)
Weak Intens ive
In 2000, less than 1 percent of beginning teachers received comprehensive induction, but those
who did saw just over a 50 percent reduced likelihood of turnover (Smith and Ingersoll 2004)
Similarly, other studies find that districts that invest in induction experience less yearly teacher
turnover and increased teacher retention in the long run (Shockley, Guglielmino and Watlington
2006). These findings are
particularly important, as they
affect new high school teachers,
who typically receive less
intensive induction than
elementary school teachers
(Ingersoll 2007; Kapadia, Coca

and Easton 2007). New high

school teachers who do receive
intensive levels of induction are
significantly more likely than
those who receive weak levels of
induction to say they intend to
continue teaching and plan to
remain in their current schools
(Kapadia, Coca and Easton 2007).
A case for induction
In addition to increasing teacher retention, induction programs teach effective instructional
practices that improve student learning (Serpell and Bozeman 2000). The combination of
professional development and exposure to their mentors and other teachers experiences can
shorten the time it takes for new teachers to perform at the same level as an experienced teacher,
which is, on average, from three to seven years without induction. The New Teacher Center, a
national resource center on teacher induction, finds that the productivity of new teachers in
comprehensive induction programs rivaled that of their third- and fourth-year peers (Villar and
Strong 2007). Thus, an inducted first-year teacher is likely to produce the same levels of student
achievement as a noninducted fourth-year teacher. Although comprehensive induction programs
are not inexpensive, they have short- and longer-term payoffs. Since these first-year and fourthyear teachers are essentially doing the
same job, the gap between first- and fourth-year salaries
represents savings from the programs in addition to the savings related to reducing turnover.

Comprehensive induction is defined here as having four components: (1) Basic induction (mentor and supportive
communication with principal or other administration) and collaboration (common planning time and regular
scheduled interaction with other teachers); (2) participation in an external network of teachers; (3) having reduced

number of preparations; and (4) being assigned a teachers aide. (Smith and Ingersoll 2004).
6 In the 200405 MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, new teachers reported being greatly
stressed by administrative duties, classroom management, and testing responsibilities, as well as
by a lack of relationships with their students parents (MetLife 2005). Comprehensive induction
programs are designed to address the roots of teacher dissatisfaction by providing teachers with
the supports and tools they need for successby guiding their work, further developing their skills
to handle the full range of their responsibilities, and evaluating their performance during the first
few years of teaching.
Induction also improves the satisfaction and skills of veteran teachers. Experienced teachers
serving as mentors or evaluators improve their own teaching practices by observing and coaching
beginners. Often teacher coaches find that mentoring provides them new opportunities for career
growth and better pay. The collaborative aspect of a good induction program helps foster a
community of educators committed to raising the performance of their school and district. The
benefits of induction to all teachers, new and seasoned alike, should not be underestimated.
Financially, comprehensive induction has shown to more than pay for itself (Fletcher and Villar
2005). The New Teacher Center estimates a $1.66 rate of return on every dollar invested in an
induction program (Villar and Strong 2007). Yet across the nation, states routinely spend millions
of dollars each year to replace teachers who leave the classroom instead of investing in induction
programs. Federal law, under the No Child Left Behind Act, allots Title II funding toward
improving teacher quality that can be used toward designing and implementing a successful
induction program. Unfortunately, induction is not required or prioritized for these funds, and little
is known about what percentage is spent on induction programs.
Tapping teachers potential
Completely eliminating turnover is not ideal, of course, as ineffective teachers do need to leave the
profession. However, too many effective, new, and academically strong teachers who have the
potential to positively influence the nations students leave or move away from disadvantaged

classrooms every year because supports are not available to them. High-quality, comprehensive
induction, although not a panacea on its own, can give the latter group the tools necessary to
succeed in challenging classrooms and help new teachers become effective in a shorter amount of
time. Simultaneously, it further develops the skills of veteran teachers. And when combined with
improved working conditions, comprehensive induction provides an environment of success for
teachersan environment that is crucial to equalizing the quality of education for all students.
When teachers are not supported, the lossto taxpayers, educators, schools, communities, and
studentsis immense.
The Alliance for Excellent Education is grateful to MetLife Foundation for its generous financial support for
the development of this brief. The findings and conclusions presented are those of the Alliance and do not
necessarily represent the views of the funder.
Alliance for Excellent Education. 2004. Tapping the potential: Retaining and developing high-quality new teachers.
Washington, DC: Author.
American Federation of Teachers. 2001. Beginning teacher induction: The essential bridge. Washington, DC:
American Federation of Teachers.
Aaronson, D. L. Barrow, and W. Sander. 2007. Teachers and student achievement in Chicago public schools. Journal
of Labor Economics 25 (1): 95135.
Barnes, G., E. Crowe, and B. Schaefer. 2007. The cost of teacher turnover in five school districts. Washington, DC:
National Commission on Teaching and Americas Future.
Boyd, D., S. Loeb, H. Lankford, and J. Wyckoff. 2005. Explaining the short careers of high achieving teachers in
schools with low performing students. Albany, NY: Teacher Policy Research.
Center for Public Education. 2005. Findings from Research. Teacher quality and student achievement research
review. (accessed January 22, 2008).
Center for Teaching Quality. 2007. Teaching and learning conditions improve high school reform efforts. Chapel
Hill, NC: Author.

Clotfelter, C. T., H. F. Ladd, and J. L. Vigdor. 2007. Teacher credentials and student achievement in high school: A
cross-subject analysis with student fixed effects. Working Paper 13617, National Bureau of Economic Research.
DeAngelis, K. J. and J. B. Presley. 2007. Leaving schools or leaving the profession: Setting Illinois record straight
on teacher attrition (IERC 2007-1). Edwardsville, IL: Illinois Education Research Council.
Ferguson, R. and H. Ladd. 1996. Additional evidence on how and why money matters: A production function analysis
of Alabama schools. In Helen F. Ladd (Ed.), Holding schools accountable: Performance-based reform in
education. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution.
Fletcher, S. and A. Villar. 2005. Research on student achievement and the benefit-cost analysis of new teacher
induction. New Teacher Center at University of Santa Cruz, Seventh National SymposiumDiscover the Power
of Teacher Induction, Fairmont Hotel, January 31, San Jose, CA.
Goldhaber, D., B. Gross and D. Player. 2007. Are public schools really losing their best?: Assessing the career
transitions of teachers and their implication for the quality of the teacher workforce. Working Paper 12, Center
for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, Urban Institute.
Haycock, K. 1998. Good teaching mattersa lot. Washington, DC: Education Trust.
Ingersoll, R. 2003. Is there really a teacher shortage? Seattle, WA: Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy.
. 2007. Quality programs for new teacher support. Paper presented at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American
Educational Research Association.
Kapadia, K., V. Coca and J. Q. Easton. 2007. Keeping new teachers: A first look at the influences of induction in the
Chicago Public Schools. Chicago, IL: Consortium on Chicago School Research, University of Chicago.
Kauffman, D., S. M. Johnson, S. M. Kardos, E. Liu, and H. G. Peske. 2002. Lost at sea: New teachers experiences
with curriculum and assessment. Teachers College Record 104 (3): 273300.
Levin, J. and M. Quinn. 2003. Missed opportunities: How we keep high-quality teachers out of urban classrooms.
New York: New Teacher Project.
8 Milanowski, A. T. and A. R. Odden. 2007. A new approach to the cost of teacher turnover. Working Paper 13, Daniel
J. Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington.
MetLife Survey of the American Teacher. 2005. Transitions and the role of supportive relationships: A survey of

teachers, principals and students 2004-05. New York, NY: MetLife.

National Commission on Teaching and Americas Future. 2003. No dream denied: A pledge to Americas children.
Washington, DC: Author.
National Education Association. 2003. Meeting the challenges of recruitment and retention: A guidebook on
promising strategies to recruit and retain qualified and diverse teachers. Washington, DC: Author.
Rice, J. K. 2003. Understanding the effectiveness of teacher attributes. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute.
Rivkin, S. G., E. A. Hanushek, and J. F. Kain. 2005. Teachers, schools and academic achievement. Econometrica 73
(2): 417458.
Serpell, Z. and L. Bozeman. 2000. Beginning teacher induction: A report on beginning teacher effectiveness and
retention. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
Shockley, R., P. Guglielmino, and E. Watlington. 2006. The costs of teacher attrition. Paper presented the
International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Smith, T. and R. Ingersoll. 2004. What are the effects of induction and mentoring on beginning teacher turnover?
American Educational Research Journal 41(3): 681714 .
U.S. Department of Education (a) National Center for Education Statistics. 2007. Teacher follow-up survey
(Questionnaire for Current Teachers and Questionnaire for Former Teachers), 2004-05. Washington, DC:
Government Printing Office.
U.S. Department of Education (b). National Center for Education Statistics. 2007. To teach or not to teach? Teaching
experience and preparation among 1992-1993 bachelors degree recipients 10 year after college (NCES 2007163). Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
Villar, A. and M. Strong. 2007. Is mentoring worth the money? A benefit-cost analysis and five-year rate of return of
a comprehensive mentoring program for beginning teachers. Santa Cruz, CA: The New Teacher Center.

Types Of Teachers
Teachers serve as the guiding force in a students life. They are responsible for molding a students personality and shaping his/her
mental orientation. Teachers deeply impact our lives and direct the course of our future. One cannot deny the influence of teachers in
ones life. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that, till a certain age, out life revolves around our teachers. They are our
constant companions, until we grow old enough to come out of their shadow and move ahead on our own.
Right from the time we embark on our education trip, we come across different types of teachers. Some are friendly, some are strict,
and some are the ones we idolize. We also dislike a few, who fail to impress us positively. Students begin to like teachers, according to
their own individual preferences. They even classify their teachers into different categories, such as Friendly Teachers, Lenient
Teachers, Perfectionist Teachers, Strict Teachers and Funny Teachers. All these classifications for teachers are based on some typical
personality traits of the teachers. For ex - some teachers constantly criticize the students, some act like friends, some are fun to be with
and so on. Let us explore them in detail.
Friendly Teacher
A friendly teacher, as the very term suggests, acts like a friend for his/her students. A teacher-friend, in fact, combines both the
guidance of a teacher and the understanding of a friend. We all, at some point of time, aspire for an understanding teacher. Such a
teacher acts like our friend, philosopher and guide.
Funny Teacher
A funny teacher is like a God-sent to the students. Such a teacher always wants to see his/her students smile ands make learning a
pleasurable experience. They are not clumsy, as most people think them to be. Rather, they are witty and bring in humor in the most
subtle form.
Ideal Teacher
An ideal teacher is the one we respect from our heart. He/she acts as a guide to the students, while not pushing them too much. Such a
perfect motivates them and boosts their morale. He/she tries to encourage the students and refrains from criticizing them.
Lenient Teacher
A lenient teacher is easygoing and takes things as they come. He/she is not overly finicky about things, such as doing homework on
time or not sitting quietly in the class, etc. Such teachers very well realize that being strict with a child can only make him/her withdrawn.
However, this does not mean that one can do anything in the class of a pampering teacher.
Strict Teacher
A strict teacher is very tough on students. He/she always insists on adhering to the deadlines. Such a teacher dislikes any mistakes or
carelessness on the part of the students. Students have to be extra cautious under such a teacher. He/she is like a disciplinarian,
always keeping students on their toes.

Education is one of the greatest services provided by teachers. It is vital for anything. The role played by teachers becomes a very
important component and in fact it can be said that they are in way our nation builders. Teachers work in close co-ordination with
students to help them in building up their future. They mould the students to bring out their skills or improvise them, teaching good
habits/attitudes and helping them to become good citizens of the nation.
There are many students who feel shy or have some personality problems. It becomes quite important for teachers to attend to these
students personally and encourage them to overcome this shyness or personality disorders.
A good teacher in fact becomes a role model for students. Students tend to follow their teacher in almost every way like manners, style
etc. Students tend to get affected by the teachers affection as well as love for them. So the teacher should have the professional
competence as well as good moral background in order to impart these values to students.
Teachers form religious leaders, world super powers, and everyone else in between. Due to the success of teachings we have
increased the knowledge base of our doctors to create safer and more efficient ways to operate while under pressure by exposing new
strategies and equipment to better prepare them for whatever they come across. Everything starts with teachers and the mentality they
possess to drive students to new levels. Teachers make the lifeboat because they are the first to interrupt the field of unknown and
transform thoughts into reality by learning and passing it on to the body.

The Qualitative Report Volume 13 Number 1 March 2008 1-11

Teachers Who Left the Teaching Profession: A Qualitative
Liza Gonzalez and Michelle Stallone Brown
Texas A&M University, Kingsville, Texas
John R. Slate
Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas
In this study, the researchers investigated public school teacher attrition
in the State of Texas. The study examined the problem by focusing on the
predominant reasons teachers give for leaving the profession after
working only one year as a teacher. Eight persons who had left the
teaching profession after one year teaching were contacted and
interviewed concerning their reasons for leaving. The three most
influential factors found were lack of administrative support, difficulties

with student discipline, and low salary levels. Study findings and
implications for policy are discussed. Key Words: Teacher Attrition,
Teacher Retention, and Teacher Shortage
A recent study examining the need for newly hired teachers in the United States
reported that over 150,000 teachers are employed to meet the demands of growing school
districts, retiring teachers, and replacing those individuals who have left the profession
(National Center for Education Statistics: NCES, 2003). Additional researchers have
reported that public school enrollment rose 21% between 1985 and 2002. The highest
growth percent occurred in the elementary grade levels, showing an increase from 27
million to 33.8 million. Projections for the 2012 public school enrollment are forecasted
to be slightly higher than that of 2002 with a 2% increase occurring every year (NCES).
With these increasing numbers, it is imperative that researchers address the attrition rate
of teachers who are leaving the profession, particularly within the first year of teaching.
Darling-Hammond (1998) stated that teacher attrition is at 30% within the first
three to five years of entering the profession. According to the numbers and predictions
for enrollment, the nation will soon be in dire need of educators to teach the increasing
number of students in public schools. Due to the national increase of student enrollment
and the increase of teachers exiting the teaching profession, due to retirement and career
changes, the dilemma at hand becomes one that affects the nation.
The State of Texas is facing a severe teacher shortage (Fuller, 2002). The State
Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) created a mentoring program called Texas
Beginning Educator Support System (TxBESS) in hopes of encouraging teachers to
remain in the classroom beyond the first year. According to Fuller, one out of every five
beginning teachers leave the profession after the first year. Although the TxBESS
program is no longer legislatively funded, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) provided
money to SBEC so that they can continue to streamline the TXBESS materials and Liza Estella Gonzalez, Michelle Stallone Brown, &
John R. Slate 2
provide training around the state. Currently they are providing training of trainers
sessions around the state so that attendees can return to their programs and train mentors,
administrators, beginning teachers, and the community. These sessions are being attended
by ISD representatives, ACP programs, universities, charter schools, and regional service
centers. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2003) estimated that the
nation will need between 1.7 and 2.7 million new teachers for the 2008-09 school year.

New teachers will be replacing retired teachers, teachers leaving the profession, as well
as meeting the increased enrollment demands (Hussar, 2000).
Much attention has been brought to the issue of our nations teacher shortage, but
what must be addressed and examined is the retention issue. The National Education
Association (NEA) reported that 20% of newly hired teachers leave the classroom within
the first three years of teaching. In urban areas, the numbers are closer to 50% (NEA,
2003a). The National Commission on Teaching and Americas Future (NCTAF) reported
that in the 1990s the nation increased its supply of teachers and continues to meet the
demands that each year brings (NCTAF, 2003). The NCTAF went on to address the areas
that are the exception such as mathematics, special education, science, and bilingual
education. Between the years of 1984 and 1999, there were 220,000 new graduates
annually. The problem is that the number of teachers leaving the classroom was
increasing faster than they could be replaced (NCTAF).
Instead of asking from where the next batch of teachers will come for the
upcoming school year, it is time to examine how many left the profession last year and
why (NCTAF, 2003). The NEA reported that teachers feel overwhelmed by the scope of
the job, while others feel that the expectations are unclear. Some teachers report feeling
unsupported and isolated (NEA, 2003a). Other reports from the NEA stated that teachers
are still underpaid in comparison to professions that require the same amount of
education, and teachers are not respected or valued based on the contribution they make
to society (NEA, 2002). It is time to take a serious look at retention and attrition and the
reasons behind this phenomenon rather than continue to concentrate on the shortage
The NEA believes that all retention issues should be addressed and should start
with the recognition of the complexity of the teaching job. It has been acknowledged that
teachers should be provided with mentors, professional development training sessions,
reduced class sizes, and adequate planning time (NEA, 2002). The NEA is working with
other organizations and policymakers to develop mentor programs, induction programs,
and peer assistance programs, in an effort to keep teachers in the classroom beyond the
first year and preferably beyond the fifth (NEA, 2003b).
A review of the literature at the national and state levels indicates the teacher
shortages in other states have been caused by personal, monetary, teacher preparation,
organizational, and emotional/social factors. Richard Ingersoll, in a report for the

National Commission on Teaching and Americas Future (NCTAF), called teaching a

revolving door profession (Ingersoll as cited in NEA, 2003b, 1). The NEA stated that
according to the NCTAF, schools are losing about the same number of teachers each year
as they hire. Turnover of teachers in high-poverty schools is higher than in any other area
(NEA, 2003b). Adding to the shortage of teachers is the requirement of highly
qualified teachers by the end of the 2005-2006 school year. The Elementary and
Secondary Education Act (ESEA), better known as No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, 3
The Qualitative Report March 2008
added the challenge of highly qualified to ensure that all teachers are certified in the
subject area they are teaching (NEA, 2003b).
In a report to the Senate Education Committee, Ingersoll stated that questions
about teacher shortages inevitably lead to questions about teacher attrition, mainly
because the high attrition rate is seen as a bigger influence on shortages than an
insufficient supply of new teachers (Herbert & Ramsey, 2004). Though the decision to
enter or stay in the classroom is a personal decision, Herbert and Ramsey identified
salaries and incentives, working condition, professional development, and assignments to
be contributing factors to the high attrition rate (Herbert & Ramsey). According to
Branch (2000), Texas is facing a teacher shortage of about 45,000 teachers with only
14,000 new recruits to choose from. Additionally, Texas teachers are earning currently
about $3,000 below the national average of $41,000. John Cole, president of the Texas
Federation of Teachers has said that the state needs to do a better job in the area of
teacher salaries (Branch).
With the ongoing teacher shortage and consistently high rates of attrition, the
current study sought to determine the primary reasons certified teachers in Texas leave
the profession. The researchers conducted interviews with certified Texas teachers who
had left the teaching profession after one year. Researchers examined the predominant
motivations for leaving the profession.
Methods and Procedures
According to Creswell (2003), qualitative procedures depend on text, have
distinctive steps in collecting and analyzing data, and draw on varied tactics of
questioning (p. 179). Qualitative research stresses a model of investigation that provides
an in-depth understanding of intricate issues and focuses on an understanding of the
narratives and observations obtained. Naturalistic inquiry provided the best means for

exploring the role of the first year teacher and the reasons behind leaving the profession.
Erlandson, Harris, Skipper, and Allen (1993), identified four sources for gathering data:
interviews, observations, documents, and artifacts. Interviews are not the typical one-onone question and answer sessions; rather they
are more of a dialog or interaction (p. 85).
Dexter (as cited in Erlandson et al.) described interviews as conversation with a
purpose (p. 85).
Qualitative Inquiry Technique
The researchers believed in the importance of teacher voices; therefore, the
interview process was selected as the data collection method to gather insight concerning
the factors that contribute to teachers leaving the profession. As its purpose, the study
sought to develop central themes about the factors that hinder teachers from remaining in
the profession. The general interview guide approach was utilized to provide meaningful
information on concepts central to the purpose of the research. The semi-structured
nature of the interviews allows the researchers to explore, probe, and ask questions that
will elucidate and illuminate that particular subject (Patton, 2003, p. 343). The
interviews required that participants reflect on the phenomena that took place in the past.
Interviews provide attitudes and opinions as well as deeper insight into the reasons Liza Estella Gonzalez, Michelle Stallone Brown, &
John R. Slate 4
behind why teachers are leaving the profession. Therefore, the qualitative inquiry
technique of semi-structured interviews with former teachers fit well with the purpose of
the study.
Participant Recruitment Procedures
Prior to contacting potential participants, Internal Review Board approval was
sought through Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Once IRB approval was granted, the
researchers attempted to locate appropriate participants by placing ads in several Texas
newspapers, asking teachers who were certified and left the profession after one year to
please call and set up an interview. Many calls came in, but most of the potential
participants did not fit the criteria or did not want to participate in case they one day
decided to return to the profession. Regional Service Centers were contacted as well as
school district Human Resource Directors to enlist help in finding possible candidates for
this portion of the study. Once an adequate sample member was located,
recommendations for others were requested.
All of the participants were located through snowball sampling, but all were
selected based on criterion sampling. According to Patton (2003), snowball sampling is

when researchers identify cases of interest from sampling people who know people who
know people who know what cases are information rich, that is, good examples for study,
good interview participants (p. 243). Criterion sampling is based on selecting a group to
study because they meet the necessary criterion, in this case, certified teachers in the state
of Texas who left the profession after one year in the classroom (Patton).
Once a possible candidate was established, and initial communication was
completed by the individual volunteering the former teacher, these researchers were
provided with contact information, and then researcher contact was established with the
possible participant to discuss more fully the scope of the study and willingness to
participate. The initial communications occurred via telephone contact. After all
preliminaries were secured, an interview time and meeting place were secured.
Ultimately, eight Texas certified schoolteachers who were no longer teaching
were selected to participate in this study. Participants originated from various regions
located throughout the state. Of the eight participants, six were female and two were
male. Six of the participants were Hispanic and two were White, and their ages ranged
from 25 to 56 years. The criteria for participation included being certified to teach, but
leaving the profession after only one year of teaching.
Data Collection
For the purpose of the current investigation, former teacher interview narratives,
as well as detailed field notes, constituted the data for the study. Face-to-face interviews
were conducted in a natural setting convenient to the interviewee. This process allowed
an opportunity to observe the surroundings and gather information on personal interests.
Anonymity was ensured and an explanation of what the results would be used for ensued
(Erlandson et al., 1993). Interview times ranged from 45 minutes to approximately two
hours. Some of the interviews took place in the participants homes, while others took
place at work, and still others preferred to meet at a restaurant. Follow-up questioning 5
The Qualitative Report March 2008
and necessary clarifications were completed via phone conversations, and on one
particular occasion, a second face-to-face interview was established. During the
participant contact, field notes were taken to describe the participants surroundings in
This data collection method allowed for wording and the sequence of the
questions to happen naturally through the interview process, while maintaining relevance

to the predetermined topic. Patton (2003) claimed that the interview guide approach
allows for the interviews to remain fairly conversational and situational (p. 349), while
allowing the interviewer to explore, probe, and ask questions that will illuminate the topic
at-hand. The goal of the researchers was to explore the problem of teacher attrition in a
way that would probe spontaneously, with the problems uncovered in a naturallyoccurring conversation to maintain the integrity of the
data. The meetings with the
participants remained open and conversational.
The lead researcher conducted the interviews with all eight participants. Once the
interview began, the researcher began with non-threatening questions, broad enough to
not be threatening, yet easy enough to answer that the participant began to feel
comfortable. The conversations usually focused on their general experiences in the
teaching field. Often, specific incidents or stories were shared. This approach helped to
establish rapport. Once the relationship was established, questions centered on one main
issue; the main reasons behind leaving the teaching profession and several sub-issues;
what were the personal reasons, organizational reasons, and monetary reasons that
influenced the decision. As respondents dialogued on experiences in the classroom, they
were allowed opportunities to elaborate on their responses. Closure to the interview is as
important as the start. The interviewer recapped or summarized the information obtained
to make sure that the important parts were captured. This member-checking allowed the
interviewee a chance to clarify or refine certain aspects of the interview (Erlandson et al.,
Analysis of Data
Once the interviews had been conducted, the interview response data as well as
field notes and observations were assessed immediately by accurately transcribing and
storing the data in a word processing document to be analyzed qualitatively for
conceptual and recurring common themes, with the ultimate hope of developing
grounded theory (Patton, 2003). The researchers examined the transcribed interview
narratives and field notes, looking for indications of categories. With each category,
researchers coded them on the document, and after several read-throughs, the codes
developed into a name that described the event or issue. Each code was then transferred
into a separate document in which consistent categories could be again compared. For
example, as former teachers mentioned instances in which they were disappointed by the
administration in their former position, the instance would be labeled administration,

and the content would be transferred to the administration document. This process was
completed several times, as the codes had to be re-organized and re-named after further
comparisons with other events. Once the categories became more firm, then the core
themes became the central focus of the researchers. The core themes were those on which Liza Estella Gonzalez, Michelle Stallone
Brown, & John R. Slate 6
most of the conversations were focused. The results section of this manuscript was
developed based on the categories of central focus.
Patton (2003) claimed that validity, in qualitative studies, relies on the credibility
of the instrument, also known as the researcher. The instrument must be skilled,
competent, and rigorous (p. 14). Validity and reliability were ensured and enhanced
through the application of several techniques including careful review of interview
questions and probes; single interviewer for all eight participants; peer examination; audit
trails that recorded and described in a separate Word document how the study was
conducted, how data were collected, and how concepts and categories were derived; and
member-checking, in which individual responses were reviewed and checked with each
participant. Open lines of communication with the respondents allowed these researchers
to follow-up on clarifications through phone calls, electronic mail, and face-to-face
conversations. Experts in the field of education assisted in reviewing the questions.
Additionally, interview narratives were constantly compared for consistencies as well as
differences, and constant comparisons of interview data, observations, and field notes
were implemented to verify responses and to ensure congruence.
Administrative Issues Influencing Teacher Attrition
Seven respondents agreed that administration was one of the biggest influential
factors in not returning to the profession. Participants cited disrespect from administration
as one of the biggest problems. Administrators, according to the respondents, tend to put
teachers down instead of motivating them and encouraging them to try harder with the
students. Corrupt administrations or administrators with reduced moral ethics were a
large problem. One interviewee stated that her classroom was used as a dumping
ground for students who needed a schedule change or were considered problem
students (Respondent # 1). Another interviewee affirmed that the administration was
corrupt when it came to grading. This interviewee was told to erase all zero grades in the
grade book and average the grades without the zeros. In his opinion, This makes the

actual teaching and learning irrelevant (Respondent # 4). Several of the selected
participants mentioned that administrators tend to put a lot of pressure on the teachers and
criticize them in front of the rest of the staff. One respondent mentioned that in a meeting,
with a parent, her administrator stated that the child in question was misbehaving because
she was a bad teacher (Respondent # 6). This was said with the parent and other
professionals present. Specific examples of disrespect mentioned were having the
teachers sign in at conferences in the morning and again after lunch. Professional
courtesy is gone. Another teacher was reassigned without warning, after the Christmas
break, to teach 4
grade science instead of the 5
grade like she was hired to teach. A
retired teacher who was rehired to prepare the 5th grade students for the upcoming
Science TAKS test replaced her. I now have less respect for the public school system; I
am aware of their dirty little secrets and want nothing to do with it (Respondent # 8). 7
The Qualitative Report March 2008
Student Discipline Issues Influencing Teacher Attrition
All eight respondents agreed that student discipline was another influential factor
for leaving the profession. Students come with so many problems and issues that it is
overwhelming to the teachers. Discipline is a weak area for most new teachers and
handling situations that arise in the classroom become trial and error.

Behavior problems were beginning to develop and I just knew that it was
because I was drowning in work and could not catch up. I was so behind, I
never felt fully prepared in the classroom. I decided to leave the profession
before I caused permanent damage in the way of students becoming
behavior problems or worse yet, not learning. I would not be able to live
with myself if students did not learn because I was not a good teacher.
(Respondent #5)
Common complaints from the interviewees were that students are rude, lazy, use
drugs, and have no discipline or self-control. One of the participants mentioned that the
year she taught, one of her students committed suicide and several others suffered the

loss of a parent or loved one. Also, many of her students (9

graders) became pregnant.
These issues made teaching nearly impossible. She was always worrying about her
students and found herself losing sleep at night over the stress and worry. All in all, this
participant felt that high school students have too many issues and prefers working in
higher education (Respondent #1). A middle school teacher who also contributed to this
study pointed out that students with a bad attitude but good grades got away with
murder (Respondent #3). They were never disciplined or corrected on their behavior
because their good grades helped the desegregated data, especially if their race was one
of the minority groups. When students are too active it make the job of instructor a lot
more difficult stated one of the participants. Administration does not want to deal with
any behavior problems, so they remain the educators problem and when parents are
called in for a conference, again, it is blamed on the teacher, so it continues to be the
teachers problem. Complaints were ignored by administration. These are the complaints
recorded from several of the participants.
Teacher Salaries Influencing Teacher Attrition
Of all of the participants interviewed, seven of them believed that the teaching
salary was low compared to the amount of hours put in. One of the interviewees
commented that her salary was so low and the amount of hours she put in was so high
that she figures she made about .36 cents an hour (Respondent # 7). Another stated that
the teaching profession is so stressful; the salary should really be much higher
(Respondent # 5).
As a teacher you need to plan when you are going to be absent, this is not
something that other professions need to worry about. You also work too
many hours after school, weekends, holidays, etc. the day never ends like Liza Estella Gonzalez, Michelle Stallone Brown, & John R.
Slate 8
at other jobs. When the day is over you go home and the work stays, with
teaching, the work must get done (Respondent #2).
An additional complaint was that the extra duties required were not paid or
compensated for, such as bus duty, lunch duty, after school duty, etc. Most elementary
campuses have cheerleaders and drill teams, and these organizations require sponsors, yet
the teachers are forced to sponsor these events without any compensation or pay. The last

complaint regarding salary dealt with the school administration wanting their staff to
return to school for higher degrees, but the incentive to return to school is not there. For
example, if an English teacher returned to school to obtain a Masters degree in English,
the district would give her a $500.00 to $1,000.00 stipend for the year. But the fact of the
matter is that while the teacher is pursuing this degree, she is paying college tuition and
books that are much more expensive than what she will gain monetarily. Texas does not
offer enough of an incentive to return to school and obtain a higher degree (Respondent
# 3). The one participant who did not agree said, the salary was great, but then again, I
was coming from a job at a vocational school and the salary there was a lot lower,
teaching for the public school system was a step up (Respondent #1).
Interviewees noted that administrators were inconsistent when it came to rules
and regulations. Administrators had favorite teachers, employees, parents, students, etc. If
you were not among one of the favorites, it was understood that you would not be
listened to or heard (Respondent # 4). Another point made was that if your class was not
a course tested by TAKS, it was not perceived as important. Do your job and stay out of
the way, TAKS took precedence over everything else, except maybe sports (Respondent
# 1). Looking at schools where retention of teachers is high, revealed that the principals
were visionary leaders, teacher-focused, stressed the value of leadership training, and
were committed to and passionate about their jobs (Education Week, 2004).
Among the three most noted factors, student discipline was a big concern.
Respondents mentioned that students who were discipline problems, but scored well on
TAKS, were never appropriately disciplined. Administrators tended to be more lenient
with those students, and those students knew they had the upper hand, which created a
vicious cycle of behavior and classroom management (Respondent # 4). Also mentioned
was that administrators did not want to deal with discipline, so it was up to the teachers to
take care of it. When a parent conference was held, administrators never supported
teachers; instead they blamed the childs behavior on the teacher and her being
inadequate (Respondent # 6). Workshops and other trainings on conflict resolution have
been suggested as possible choices for new teachers. Conflict resolution can also be
incorporated at the university level so that new teachers take a course prior to graduation
(Wrobel, 1993).


Results of the study may have implications for lowering the teacher attrition rate
of certified teachers in the state of Texas. The findings of the current study support the
idea that it is organizational issues (including salary issues) that influence the decision of
teachers to leave the profession. Lessons learned include the need for increased
administrative support, consistent student discipline, and higher teacher salaries 9
The Qualitative Report March 2008
considering the time invested. Given that this study was a qualitative study, and that a
limited number of teachers who had left the teaching profession were interviewed, these
findings are limited to the extent that they can be generalized. Public school district
human resource directors, superintendents, principals, and administrators are encouraged
to look at the findings and consider how they could be properly implemented. Many of
the findings from the interviews were consistent from one former teacher to the next.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) examined the need for new
teachers and found that the United States employs over 150,000 teachers to meet the
demands of growing school districts, retiring teachers, and replacing those educators who
have left the profession (NCES, 2003). Growth projections appear to be increasing by 2%
every year projected until 2012 (NCES). Based on these projections, research needs to be
focusing on the attrition rate of certified school teachers. Linda Darling-Hammond (1998)
indicated that teacher attrition is at 30% within the first three to five years of entering the
profession. Although these numbers and predictions are national calculations, Ed Fuller
of the State Board of Educator Certification has stated that Texas is facing a teacher
shortage, and one out of every five beginning teachers leave the profession after the first
year (Fuller, 2002). What are the reasons that our public school teachers are leaving the
profession so soon? The answer to this question was the purpose of the current study.
The NEA reported that teachers feel overwhelmed by the scope of the job, feel
unsupported and isolated, and still others are unclear on the expectations of the job (NEA,
2003a). Our findings concurred in that teachers experienced a clear lack of support. Other
reports indicated that teachers are still underpaid in respect to professions who require the
same amount of education. Teachers are not respected or valued based on the
contributions they make to society (NEA, 2002). Salary levels were an issue that surfaced
during the interview in this study. Texas is facing a teacher shortage of about 45,000
teachers, with only 14,000 new recruits to choose from. Texas teachers are earning about

$3,000 below the national average of $41,000 (Branch, 2000). Besides salary or monetary
reasons, other factors that have been identified as possible reasons for teachers leaving
the profession are personal, teacher preparation, organizational, and emotional/social.
The current study both supported and failed to support the reasons commonly mentioned
in the literature (Herbert & Ramsey, 2004; NEA, 2002; NEA, 2003a) for teachers leaving
the profession. Personal and emotional/social reasons were lacking, as the focus of
responses related to organizational and monetary reasons for leaving the teaching field.
In the current study, eight Texas certified school teachers who left the profession
after only one year in the classroom were selected and interviewed. Common themes
were drawn from all of the data collected. Administration, student discipline, and salary
were the most common reasons cited for exiting the profession so prematurely.
Administrative factors included teachers feeling disrespected by their administrators,
administration being corrupt, having reduced morals, and placing excessive pressure on
teachers and staff. Student discipline was also mentioned quite often. A common
complaint was that students have so many family problems and issues that they are
overwhelming to an educator, especially one with no experience. Teachers perceived
students to be rude, lazy, use drugs, have no discipline or self-control, bad attitudes, and Liza Estella Gonzalez, Michelle Stallone
Brown, & John R. Slate 10
administrators refused to discipline the students. The last area most cited was the issue of
salary. Seven of the eight participants mentioned that the teaching salary was too low in
comparison to the amount of time put into teaching, the amount of stress and pressure
that educators are under, and the number of extra-duties required of teachers. On the
whole, this studys findings both supported and failed to support previous themes
presented in the teacher attrition literature.
Branch, A. (2000). Teacher shortages hit Michigan and Texas. Curriculum
Administrator, 36(9), 12-13.
Creswell, J. W. (2003). Research design qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods
approaches (2nd ed.). London: Sage Publications.
Darling-Hammond, L. (1998). Teachers and teaching: Testing policy hypotheses from
national commission report. Educational Researcher, 27(1), 5-15.
Education Week. (2004). Teach for America: Not alone in retention woes. Retrieved
October 12, 2004, from

Erlandson, D. A., Harris, E. L., Skipper, B. L., & Allen, S. D. (1993). Doing inquiry. A
naturalistic guide to methods. London: Sage Publications.
Fuller, E. (2002, April 9). Mentoring program helps address teacher shortage. Retrieved
November 17, 2003, from
Herbert, K. S., & Ramsay, M. C. (2004, September). Teacher turnover and shortages of
qualified teachers in Texas public school districts. Retrieved November 30, 2004,
Hussar, W. J. (2000). Predicting the need to for newly hired teachers in the United States
to 2008-09. Retrieved March 15, 2003, from
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). (2003). Participation in education.
Retrieved April 30, 2004, from
National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF). (2003, January). No
dream denied a pledge to America's children. Retrieved February 21, 2003, from
National Education Association (NEA). (2002). Attracting and keeping quality teachers.
Retrieved April 2, 2004, from
National Education Association (NEA). (2003a, October). Attracting and keeping quality
teachers. Retrieved November 17, 2003, from
National Education Association (NEA). (2003b). Meeting the challenges of recruitment
and retention. Retrieved February 20, 2004, from
Patton, M. Q. (2003). Qualitative research and evaluation methods
(3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Wrobel, G. (1993). Preventing school failure for teachers: Training for a lifelong career
in EBD. Preventing School Failure, 37(2), 16-23. 11
Author Note
Liza Estella Gonzalez, Ed.D., is a first grade teacher for Vanguard Academy
Charter School in Pharr, TX. Future goals include teaching in the higher education arena.
Her primary research interests are on the retention and attrition of first year teachers as

The Qualitative Report March

well as programs designed to alleviate this problem. The author can be contacted at 1317
Ridgewood Circle, Pharr, TX 78577; Telephone: Home (956) 496-3339, Work (956)
283-1700, Fax (956) 782-8119; Email:
Michelle Stallone Brown, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor of Education in the
Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling at Texas A&M UniversityKingsville. Her teaching focus is educational research
and statistics. Her primary research
interests are in the areas of NCLB, standardized testing, and student achievement. The
author can be contacted at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Department of
Educational Leadership & Counseling, MSC 223; 700 University Blvd., Kingsville, TX
78363-8202; Telephone: Home (361) 384-9254, Work (361) 593-4224, Cell (361) 6339448, Fax (361) 593-2136; Email:
John R. Slate received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Tennessee,
Knoxville in 1984. He is currently a Full Professor in the Department of Educational
Leadership and Counseling at Sam Houston State University. His research interests lie in
the use of state and national educational databases and in the use of mixed analyses. The
author can be contacted at Sam Houston State University, Box 2119 Huntsville, Texas
77341-2119; Telephone: (931) 710-5347; Email:
Copyright 2008: Liza Estella Gonzalez, Michelle Stallone Brown, John R. Slate,
and Nova Southeastern University
Article Citation
Gonzalez, L. E., Brown, M., & Slate, J. (2008). Teachers who left the teaching
profession: A qualitative understanding. The Qualitative Report, 13(1), 1-11.
Retrieved from