Friday, April 20, 2012

Protecting Our Investment

Some studies show half of new teachers quit in the first 5 years.


I've been doing some marketing freelance work now and again, since moving from Ohio to lovely North Carolina. The firm I've helped out is a very cool, cutting edge place filled with incredibly sharp talent (I guess I am the exception. Ha ha).

I signed on, jumped in, and in a day was working along side my peers ... the learning curve was there, but almost non-existent.

Compare that to teaching ... well, you can't actually - there's no comparison. As my second year of teaching wraps up, there have been literally hundreds of man hours put to my training.

Starting with student teaching experiences, right up to the one-on-one mentorship, coaching and counseling I've been receiving from my very busy but hands-on assistant principals, I'm a walking taxpayer-funded work in progress.

I'm twice the teacher this year I was last, and I expect myself to continue to grow exponentially in this nurturing environment.

What's my point? One, parents and the community should feel very good about the intense level of training we all receive. Two, I'm very grateful for the support and the continued chance to grow.

But my third point goes out to the politicians and policy makers.

Without intending to be adversarial, I am wondering why, in the spirit of partnership, educators and politicians can't work together to better protect our massive investment in teachers?

I was in disbelief at the above-referenced study: half of new teachers quitting in five years. I poked around, asked some veteran educators in my building, and they confirmed this is absolutely the case in terms of their experience.

I also chatted with a first-year teacher as I put this post together, and he said he's very aware that he is a sharp guy who can make a lot more money somewhere else ... and he knows with the pay freeze he's stuck at his current salary of about 30K. (I agree, he could do anything he wants - he's very sharp).

So I asked him the big question: Why are you here? He replied that he wants to make a difference, and to live a life of meaning. Plus he loves being here, and truly loves his job.

Now that's an investment worth protecting.

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