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



© 2010 | 200 pages | Corwin

"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

"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

Learn why today's best teachers are leaving—from the teachers themselves.

Podcasts:
Education Talk Radio: 4/6/2011

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.

PodcastPodcasts
Katy Farber's interview about why great teachers quit on EduTalk. Listen here. (38 minutes)

Katy Farber's insightful 36-minute interview with Jane Lindholm on Vermont Public Radio.

Click here to read Katy Farber's thoughts on "The Problem of the Disappearing Teacher and How to Solve It" in the Huffington Post.

Katy recently did an in-depth interview with EducationDegree.com. Watch it:

 
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

Sample Materials & Chapters

Preface

Chapter 1: Standardized Testing


"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
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 

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ISBN: 9781412972451

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