Why Great Teachers Quit: And How We Might Stop the Exodus

Overview

Low pay, increased responsibilities, and high-stakes standardized testing-these are just some of the reasons why more talented teachers are leaving the profession than ever before. Drawing on in-depth interviews with teachers from all over the country, Katy Farber presents an in-the-trenches view of the classroom exodus and uncovers ways that schools can turn the tide.

Farber's findings paint a sometimes shocking picture of life in today's ...

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Overview

Low pay, increased responsibilities, and high-stakes standardized testing-these are just some of the reasons why more talented teachers are leaving the profession than ever before. Drawing on in-depth interviews with teachers from all over the country, Katy Farber presents an in-the-trenches view of the classroom exodus and uncovers ways that schools can turn the tide.

Farber's findings paint a sometimes shocking picture of life in today's schools, taking a frank look at

Challenges to teacher endurance, including tight budgets, difficult parents, standardized testing, unsafe schools, inadequate pay, and lack of respect

Strategies veteran teachers use to make sure the joys of teaching outweight the frustrations

Success stories from individual schools and districts that have found solutions to these challenges

Recommendations for creating a school environment that fosters teacher retention

Featuring clear analysis and concrete suggestions for administrators and policy makers, Why Great Teachers Quit takes you to the front lines of the fight to keep great teachers where they belong: in the classroom.

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Editorial Reviews

Esmé Raji Codell
“This book is for every parent who has had their child’s teacher leave in the middle of the year, every administrator who marvels at the difficulty of teacher retention or team spirit, every policy maker ready to walk the walk, and anyone who has invested years in preparation for a career in the classroom only to be faced with the thought of cutting his or her losses.”
Tom Israel
"This book is a must-read for every principal, school board member, and policy maker concerned about teacher turnover. Farber does an excellent job framing the problems. Now the question is: What are we willing to do to stem the exodus of great teachers from our schools?"
Esme Raji Codell
“This book is for every parent who has had their child’s teacher leave in the middle of the year, every administrator who marvels at the difficulty of teacher retention or team spirit, every policy maker ready to walk the walk, and anyone who has invested years in preparation for a career in the classroom only to be faced with the thought of cutting his or her losses.”
Deborah Meier
“In this lively and interesting book, Katy Farber makes public the real reasons why inexperienced teachers rarely stay long enough or get the support they need to become good, why good teachers don’t become great, and why great teachers quit.”
Anthony J. Mullen
"A timely book about a major crisis affecting our schools and real solutions to keep our best teachers in the classroom. "
Julie Smart
"Finally, a book written by a practicing teacher who really understands what it is like to teach in today's schools: the demands, challenges, and rewards. Joining her are the voices of teachers from all over the country who have come together to share their stories and wisdom. Written with passion and insight, this is an excellent resource for anyone vested in improving education and keeping quality teachers in the classroom. This book should be required reading for every administrator and school board member."
Kenneth J. Bernstein
"This book can remind those who teach why we do so, not only reconnect us with our core beliefs, but also to motivate us to speak up beyond our individual classrooms on behalf of the well-being of our students and the ultimate success of public schools."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412972451
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 7/8/2010
  • Pages: 167
  • Sales rank: 1,362,496
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Katy Farber is a teacher, author, and founder of the blog, Non-Toxic Kids. She is also the author of two books about education, Why Great Teachers Quit and How We Might Stop the Exodus and Change the World with Service Learning. Katy has written for various news, parenting, non-profit and educational publications, including Moms Rising, Moms Clean Air Force, Educational Leadership, CNN’s School of Thought Blog, Problogger, Fox News opinion, and many others.

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Table of Contents

Foreward Virginia Hines ix

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xix

About the Author xxiii

"Guardian" Katy Farber xxiv

Introduction 1

1 Standardized Testing 5

Effects on School Climate 6

Effects on Curriculum 6

Effects on Teaching Schedules and Learning Outcomes 9

Effects on Students 11

Recommendations for Administrators and Teacher Leaders 14

Words of Wisdom From Veteran Teachers 15

The Silver Lining: Personally Fulfilling 16

Hope on the Horizon: Reevaluating Our Standardized-Testing Culture 17

Additional Resources 17

2 Working Conditions in Today's Schools 19

Big Problem # 1: Violence 20

Big Problem # 2: Unsafe Schools 22

Small Problems That Add Up 27

Recommendations for Administrators and Teacher Leaders 28

Words of Wisdom From Veteran Teachers 33

Hope on the Horizon: Cities Adopt the Precautionary Principle 34

Success Stories: Green Schools 35

Additional Resources 37

3 Ever-Higher Expectation 43

Unrealistic Expectations 44

The Time Crunch: Do More With Less 44

Professional Development That Doesn't Speak to Real Concerns 46

The Threat to Health and Well-Being 47

Recommendations for Administrators and Teacher Leaders 50

Words of Wisdom From Veteran Teachers 52

Success Stories: Professional Learning Communities and Collaboration Time 53

The Silver Lining: Challenging and Always Changing 55

Additional Resources 57

4 Bureaucracy 59

Field Trips: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished 60

Committees: The Death of Creative Ideas 62

Purchase Orders and Closed Budgets 64

Scheduling: Not Ideal for Students or Teachers 65

Policy: Lack of Input 67

Recommendations for Administrators and Teacher Leaders 69

Words of Wisdom From Veteran Teachers 71

Success Stories: Real-Life Integrated Learning 72

The Silver Lining: Making Difference 74

Additional Resources 75

5 Respect and Compensation 77

Struggling to Make Ends Meet 78

Paying for School Supplies 81

A Culture of Disrespect 83

The Martyr System: Do More for Free 86

Recommendations for Administrators and Teacher Leaders 88

Words of Wisdom From Veteran Teachers 89

Success Stories: A Decent Working Wage 90

Hope on the Horizon: Teacher Pay and Respect in New York and Other States 90

The Silver Lining: Helping Children Learn and Grow 94

Additional Resources 96

6 Parents 97

Unrealistic Demands and No Limits 99

My Child is Always Right 101

Helicopter Parents: Micromanaging the Classroom 103

Recommendations for Administrators and Teacher Leaders 107

Words of Wisdom From Veteran Teachers 113

Success Stories: Partnering to Help a Child Read and Participate 116

The Silver Lining: Contributing to a Community Over Time 117

Additional Resources 118

7 Administrators 121

The Pressure Cooker of the Principalship 122

Pressure From Parents 123

Testing Pressure 124

Time Pressure 125

Mentors Help Principals, Too 129

Recommendations for Administrators and Teacher Leaders 130

Words of Wisdom From Veteran Teachers 133

Success Stories: Principal Mentors Make a Difference 134

Additional Resources 135

8 School Boards 137

Shared Leadership 138

Uses and Abuses of Power 140

Recommendations for Administrator and Teacher Leaders 142

Words of Wisdom From Veteran Teachers 145

Success Stories: School Board, Administrator, and Teacher Teams 146

The Silver Lining: Buoyed by a Supportive Community 148

Hope on the Horizon: Teaming Up With Teachers 150

Additional Resources 150

Afterword: Final Thoughts 153

References 157

Index 163

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