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Insight from my Research

May 20, 2010

I may have mentioned that I am doing a research study.  It’s a study on the reasons teachers leave the profession.  I had a pretty good mix of people who were in education for less than five years, and those who were in the profession ten years or more.

It’s common to see that the 10+veterans who left really did wear out.  The reasons for that are varied, and I’ll get into that later as I analyze the data more in-depth.

As for the folks who left after a period of less than five years – there are some different things going on there.  A few burned hot and fast in their careers, but many simply found unsupportive, unnappealing work environments that had them feeling that no matter how hard they worked, no matter how hard they tried, they would not be able to make a difference in the world.  That’s a sad commentary on the current state of our educational systems I think. 

One interesting thing I noted – I asked participants what advice they would give someone who is thinking about going into the teaching professions.  The answers were varied.  The one thing I noticed, though, was what they didn’t say.  I actually expected that someone who had left the profession might discourage others from entering it.  This was not the case.  While many of them did caution that one should think very carefully about the needs of the profession, and what it takes to work in as an educator, not one person said they would discourage an aspiring teacher.   I found that fascinating.

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