According to a recent study, the nearly fifty percent of all new teachers that were believed to quit teaching in less than five years is actually closer to twenty percent. This statistic, although much lower than the previously estimated half, is still much higher than other professions. How can we prevent new teacher turnover?
Personally, I know dozens of teachers that have quit teaching in five years or less. And, while there are a lot of factors that contribute to this percentage (including pay, autonomy, and potential growth, just to name a few), there are small things we can do as teachers to help new teachers stay inspired and motivated enough to pass that five-year mark.
1 – Keep our doors open
As experienced teachers, most of us probably feel like we have plenty of friends at work. And while we might not view our circles at work as “cliques,” new teachers can perceive these friendships as such. By simply extending invitations to lunches or prep period planning, we can help new teachers get plugged into the school, making new teachers have a more enjoyable experience day-to-day.
2 – Offer practical advice
New teachers have a lot on their plate, which is one of the main complaints teachers have who are on the fence about quitting. While we might feel like it’s enough to listen to the problems new teachers at our schools are having, we need to do more to stop new teacher turnover. Rather than adding to their complaint list, we can offer practical advice that will help them manage everything without getting burnt out. In fact, a study showed that “92 percent of teachers assigned a mentor their first year returned the next year, and 86 percent were on the job by the fifth year.” From systems we use to stay organized to how we assign projects and grade tests, all of these things we’ve learned over the years can make a huge difference in preventing new teacher turnover. Let’s be that mentor for those new teachers!
3 – Get new teachers involved
From after-school committees to extracurricular clubs and organizations, the more we encourage new teacher involvement the less likely it will be that they are tempted to quit (or move to a different school). While it might seem counterintuitive to ask new teachers to do more, especially if they’re already doing a lot, getting them involved with students so that they can create relationships (and be reminded of why they wanted to teach in the first place) is a huge way to help them feel like they belong.
Halt new teacher turnover
Keep your eyes open for those opportunities to befriend and invite a new teacher to lunch or another social gathering. Step up to be a mentor and not wait to be asked, sharing your knowledge freely, it will help you to grow too. Finally, encourage a new teacher to become involved in one extracurricular club to develop stronger student-teacher relationships.