Thursday, 19 December 2013

Teachers that leave...

This [http://theconversation.com/why-good-teachers-leave-teaching-21339] is a great article about a significant issue for the profession of teaching and one that only seems to be growing more prominent - the attrition rate of teachers and particularly those early in their respective careers.
Whilst there will always be a small proportion of new teachers who quickly work out that they are not suited or up to the job, there are more and more who are calling it quits simply because their enjoyment of and motivation for teaching has been overwhelmed by high accountability, high workloads and the need to 'fit in' with the plans, policies and procedures of the school and the broader system.

The article is a good reminder about the responsibility schools have for supporting new teachers to fulfil their potential. Newly-graduated teachers should be valued as staff members that are in possession of some of the most current knowledge about teaching and learning, given the recency of their university experiences. Schools need to ensure that they are 'tapping into' this, not blindly assuming that new teachers - although lacking in practical experience - are 'empty vessels' with nothing to offer... 
Yes, it is important that new teachers are scaffolded into the school they are working in - learning about the important philosophies and approaches that drive the school's teaching and learning, as well as the variety of other 'need to knows' that ensure the day-to-day functioning of the school happens smoothly... The challenge for schools is to ensure that this induction into the culture and ways of the school, leaves room for the valuing of what the new teacher brings with them in terms of knowledge, skills, passions, etc, as well as ensures that support is provided for teachers to develop as intelligent and skillful practitioners, rather than just following directions from others without thought.

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