Teacher turnover - the continuous cycling of new teachers through a district, with very few or even none staying beyond a year or few - is a big problem. It affects the state of education overall, and while it may not seem like it at first glance, it also impacts you as a prospective or freshly certified teacher. But how? Why should you care about teacher turnover?
1. It impacts the budget that school districts have to spend on you.
High teacher turnover has resulted in astronomical costs to the nation. According to Barnes, Crowe, and Schaefer, who completed a study for the NCTAF in 2007 about the cost of teacher turnover in America, the average cost for each teacher leaving in Chicago was $17,872, and the total cost nationally is estimated to be over $86 million per year.
In 2000, a study in Texas indicated that the state’s overall teacher turnover rate of 15.5% costs around $329 million a year. Schools with high turnover rates spend money recruiting and training new teachers who are unprepared to start.
2. It stresses the teachers who would serve as your mentors.
A few senior teachers are expected to mentor a large number of new teachers, and they feel unable to meet these expectations. Under these circumstances, it’s the children who suffer most. Therefore, it’s imperative that not only to recruit and train new teachers, but also to retain and reward the best teachers who currently serve in public schools all over the nation.
3. The long-term consequences will affect your entire career experience.
Quick-fix solutions will not serve the purpose and are likely to do more harm than good in the long run. Although some of these quick-fix solutions may increase the supply of new teachers, they provide no guarantee that new teachers in the profession will stay in the profession. As mentioned previously, the best solution to significantly reduce teacher turnover is to devise new ways to retain existing teachers.
So, what to do about the problem of teacher turnover? Some of the ways to attract new teachers include revamping the public education system in a manner that provides opportunities for teachers to voice their opinion on policy matters, recognizing teachers for their professional achievements, and providing adequate and competitive financial compensation.
If you’re a new teacher, ask your district what their plan is to reduce teacher turnover, and how you can help. Don’t just sit by and watch the problem keep happening - become a part of the solution. In the long run, it will help you, too!
The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.