Last weekend, I began considering Why do teachers quit? As someone who is very interested in maintaining a strong educational system, and someone who wants to see children get the best education possible, it is an important question to me.
As we continue pondering this, we want to begin this weekend looking at some ways that we might be able to keep teachers from quitting.
If there is a problem, find the underlying source
Simply realizing that teachers quit is not the answer. Simply treating symptoms may solve the problem on an isolated basis, but it doesn’t really begin to scratch the surface of where we really need to be working. So we need to dig a little deeper and see if we can find the foundational problem that keeps many teachers from continuing.
Teaching is a lonely profession
Too often, I see that teachers isolate themselves. Being closed-minded doesn’t help, but even those who are open-minded and receptive to correction simply don’t get that correction. We have too much to teach, not enough time to teach, and too many students to teach. Perhaps.
But is being busy really a solid argument against collaboration, or should it rather be an indicator that we probably need to be doing more collaboration than we currently are?
The general pattern I see is that younger teachers usually know they don’t have all the answers, but they don’t even know where to begin asking questions. Older teachers generally have survived without asking too many questions, and so they rarely volunteer information to younger teachers who really do need the help. So we have a self-defeating cycle going on here.
My assertion is that most teachers quit teaching because they lack the tools for success, they don’t know where to find the tools, and nobody is offering to give them the tools. So their search sadly often leads them to other fields.