More students are being taught by inexperienced, not-yet-effective teachers, warns a Carnegie report, Beginners in the Classroom
Novices are leading so many classrooms not only because of greater demand for teachers, but because so many teachers in existing jobs are leaving before they become accomplished educators. Although the recent recession slowed the exodus somewhat, teacher turnover rates are exceptionally high. In many urban districts, more than half of teachers leave within five years. And teachers abandon charter schools at especially high rates, a significant problem given the growing presence of charters in many metropolitan areas.
Pay isn’t the primary reason teachers quit, concludes the report. “Teachers leave because of a lack of administrative support — poor professional development, insufficient emotional backing, and scant feedback on performance.”
In Fast Start, The New Teachers Project describes how it changed its five-week teacher training program to teach fewer skills more intensely.
Fast Start focuses on four critical skills most closely linked to first-year success: delivering lessons clearly, maintaining high academic and behavioral standards, and maximizing instructional time.
. . . teachers spend 26 hours in intensive, hands-on practice.
Every Fast Start participant benefits from 32 hours of one-on-one and group coaching to help them constantly fine-tune their use of essential instructional techniques.
After two years, “we’ve found that teachers who performed better during Fast Start training earned higher ratings from their principals and did better on their district’s performance evaluation system.”