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

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July 2010 | 200 pages | Corwin
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 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 outweigh 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.


 
Foreword by Virginia Hines
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
"Guardian" by Katy Farber
 
Introduction
 
1. Standardized Testing
Effects on School Climate

 
Effects on Curriculum

 
Effects on Teaching Schedules and Learning Outcomes

 
Effects on Students

 
Recommendations for Administrators and Teacher Leaders

 
Words of Wisdom From Veteran Teachers

 
The Silver Lining: Personally Fulfilling

 
Hope on the Horizon: Reevaluating Our Standardized-Testing Culture

 
Additional Resources

 
 
2. Working Conditions in Today's Schools
Big Problem #1: Violence

 
Big Problem #2: Unsafe Schools

 
Small Problems That Add Up

 
Recommendations for Administrators and Teacher Leaders

 
Words of Wisdom From Veteran Teachers

 
Hope on the Horizon: Cities Adopt the Precautionary Principle

 
Success Stories: Green Schools

 
Additional Resources

 
 
3. Ever-Higher Expectations
Unrealistic Expectations

 
The Time Crunch: Do More With Less

 
Professional Development That Doesn't Speak to Real Concerns

 
The Threat to Health and Well-Being

 
Recommendations for Administrators and Teacher Leaders

 
Words of Wisdom From Veteran Teachers

 
Success Stories: Professional Learning Communities and Collaboration Time

 
The Silver Lining: Challenging and Always Changing

 
Additional Resources

 
 
4. Bureaucracy
Field Trips: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

 
Committees: The Death of Creative Ideas

 
Purchase Orders and Closed Budgets

 
Scheduling: Not Ideal for Students or Teachers

 
Policy: Lack of Input

 
Recommendations for Administrators and Teacher Leaders

 
Words of Wisdom From Veteran Teachers

 
Success Stories: Real Life Integrated Learning

 
The Silver Lining: Making a Difference

 
Additional Resources

 
 
5. Respect and Compensation
Struggling to Make Ends Meet

 
Paying for School Supplies

 
A Culture of Disrespect

 
The Martyr System: Do More for Free

 
Recommendations for Administrators and Teacher Leaders

 
Words of Wisdom From Veteran Teachers

 
Success Stories: A Decent Working Wage

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

 
The Silver Lining: Helping Children Learn and Grow

 
Additional Resources

 
 
6. Parents
Unrealistic Demands and No Limits

 
My Child Is Always Right

 
Helicopter Parents: Micromanaging the Classroom

 
Recommendations for Administrators and Teacher Leaders

 
Words of Wisdom From Veteran Teachers

 
Success Stories: Partnering to Help a Child Read and Participate

 
The Silver Lining: Contributing to a Community Over Time

 
Additional Resources

 
 
7. Administrators
The Pressure Cooker of the Principalship

 
Pressure From Parents

 
Testing Pressure

 
Time Pressure

 
Mentors Help Principals, Too

 
Recommendations for Administrators and Teacher Leaders

 
Words of Wisdom From Veteran Teachers

 
Success Stories: Principal Mentors Make a Difference

 
Additional Resources

 
 
8. School Boards
Shared Leadership

 
Uses and Abuses of Power

 
Recommendations for Administrators and Teacher Leaders

 
Words of Wisdom From Veteran Teachers

 
Success Stories: School Board, Administrator, and Teacher Teams

 
The Silver Lining: Buoyed by a Supportive Community

 
Hope on the Horizon: Teaming Up With Teachers

 
Additional Resources

 
 
Afterword: Final Thoughts
 
References
 
Index

"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?"

Tom Israel, Executive Director
Montgomery County (MD) Education Association

“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.”

Esmé Raji Codell, Author of Educating Esmé

“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.”

Deborah Meier, Educational Reformer, Writer, and Activist

"A timely book about a major crisis affecting our schools and real solutions to keep our best teachers in the classroom."

Anthony J. Mullen, 2009 National Teacher of the Year
Greenwich High School, CT

"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."

Julie Smart, Special Educator
Rumney Elementary School, Middlesex, VT

"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."

Kenneth J. Bernstein
Education Review, January 20, 2011
Key features
  • In-depth interviews with dozens of teachers from across the country that reveal the dissatisfactions that cause them to leave their classrooms.
  • Analysis of the problems facing today's teachers: standardized tests that are used punitively to judge teachers and school; unsupportive administrations; unrealistic expectations of the scope of teachers' responsibilities with regard to their students' lives; inadequate pay and working conditions; etc.
  • Recommendations for how these problems might be addressed, and how teachers can act as their own advocates.
  • Inspiration in the form of accounts from committed teachers who find the joys of teaching outweigh all the considerable job dissatisfactions.
  • Resources for teachers to use as they seek to address the problems that interfere with their continued life in the classroom 

Sample Materials & Chapters

Preface

Chapter 1: Standardized Testing


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ISBN: 9781412972451
$31.95

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