To “get a first-rate teacher in front of every student,” schools need to retain teachers long enough to build expertise, writes Marc Tucker on his Top Performers blog.
Attrition is higher in the U.S. than in top-performing countries, writes Tucker. Teachers who quit “typically complain that they were not well prepared for the realities of teaching and had little help from anyone else once they started teaching.”
“Most teachers have a steep learning curve during their first three years in teaching, but that curve typically flattens out after three years,” Tucker writes. Novices are motivated to learn how to do the job to survive — but, after that, “all teachers have pretty much the same job, at the same pay, with the same status, for the rest of their working lives.”
A new, very large international study by Stanford’s Linda Darling-Hammond looks at how schools support high-quality teachers and teaching in Australia, Singapore, Shanghai and Canada, he writes.
These high-performing countries work hard to hire the best possible teachers, then focus on building their expertise and providing “a meaningful career progression that reinforces and rewards” expertise, Tucker writes.
In these countries, novice teachers are less likely to quit and teacher effectiveness doesn’t plateau after three years. They keep getting better.