I think the Jack Johnson lyrics in the title for this post describe the state of teacher retention today. Twenty-five percent of beginning teachers leave after three years and 50 percent have left the field after five years. Think about that—25 percent of special education teachers spend less time in their “career” than they spent in college preparing for their career.
Even among the Reality 101 readers and writers, you can hear thoughts of changing professions. Reality 101 blogger Ellen wrote about it two years ago in her blog post. More recently, Charmelle posted about her struggles with burnout just four months ago. It is easy to list the problems: low pay, lack of administrator support, principals who don’t understand what we do, fellow teachers who don’t understand what we do, lack of resources, overcrowded classrooms, IEP caseloads that never end and dealing with parents—difficult parents, absent parents or students who are already parents. But, what can be done despite these issues to keep teachers in the field longer?