Join the mailing

Seven Facts About Teacher Retention During the First Five Years

November 15th, 2013

1. After 3 years, 1/3 of new teachers leave the field; after 5 years, almost half of new teachers have left. (Source: U.S. Department of Education)

2. In inner city schools, 1/2 of new teachers quit within 3 years. (Source: U.S. Department of Education)

3. “Students in (Washington D.C.’s) poorest neighborhoods are nearly twice as likely to have a new or second-year teacher as those in the wealthiest… The concentration of new teachers in low-income communities is ‘remarkably consistent’ across the nation.” (Source: Washington Post Monday, April 27, 2009, “Poor Neighborhoods, Untested Teachers.)

4. Approximately 1,000 U.S. teachers quit each day. (Source:

5. “Thousands of dollars walk out the door each time a teacher leaves.” According to a recent study by the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, the costs of training, recruiting, and replacing teacher-leavers reached as high as $17,872 in some districts. (Source: National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, “Cost of Teacher Turnover in Five School Districts”)

6. Teacher attrition costs the US over seven billion dollars each year. (Source: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education)

7. Beginning teachers go through several distinct phases during their first years on the job. The hardest part of the year for most teachers is the “disillusionment” phase, which usually begins in October and can last until winter break. (Source: The New Teacher Center) Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Dan Brown of Teacher Leaders Network

January 4th, 2010

“Elden’s book…  is a useful, empathetic guide to weathering the first-year lumps. The author jokes that this book is not chicken soup, but rather “Hard Liquor for the Teacher’s Soul.” I’d peg it somewhere in between— perhaps a frothy, satisfying Guinness for the teacher’s soul.”

Click here to read the rest of the article on Dan Brown’s blog at Teacher Leaders Network.

P.S. Dan Brown is also the author of my favorite first-year teacher memoir: The Great Expections School.

Interview: Miami Herald – Joys, Perils of Teaching

November 20th, 2009

Q: If you could change one thing about the way the teaching profession works, what would it be?

A: There’s a big push right now to run schools according to a business model and hold teachers and schools accountable for “results.” It’s probably well-intentioned, but the business model assumes that educated children are our product. The way it plays out is that test scores are the product, and we’re treating students like employees at test score factories. They’re missing out on a lot of the activities that made learning fun for us, and teachers are frustrated at being forced to teach in ways that fit neither our students’ learning styles nor our own personalities. Another unintended consequence is that accountability measures scare teachers away from the kids who need the most attention. Read the rest of this entry »

Poem Video and Download: Make Me Or Break Me

October 22nd, 2009

Make Me Or Break Me is a poem for frustrated new teachers, or anyone who…

“Spent all last night
On grading and preparation
and can’t get the kids
to just SHUT UP
and take this inspiration.”

Click here to see (most of) this poem on youtube.

You can also download a printer-friendly (and nicely laid out) PDF file of the poem on the downloads tab to the left.