Teacher Turnover: How Long Will They Stay

Monday, December 1, 2008

Teacher Turnover: How Long Will They Stay?

Teaching is an occupation with a famously high attrition rate. One figure often bandied about is that 50 percent of new teachers leave within five years. Other studies have shown it's not quite that dire, but turnover is still remarkably high. Prince George's County, where Paul Murdock teaches, is no exception. To learn what educators think of their jobs, the Prince George's school system last year surveyed more than 4,000 teachers. Here are some of the results:

61.8% -- Agreed with the statement, "I like the way things are run at this school."

82.4% -- Agreed with the statement, "There is a cooperative effort among the teaching staff to help students succeed."

47.1% -- Reported that "acts of disrespect for teachers" interfere with instruction on a daily or weekly basis.

60.4% -- Said "disruptive behavior" was a moderate or serious problem in their schools.

61.6% -- Said "students coming to school unprepared to learn" was a moderate or serious problem in their schools.

39.1% -- Said bugs and rodents were a moderate or serious problem in their schools.

64.3% -- Disagreed with the statement, "I am satisfied with my teaching salary."

41.7% -- Agreed with the statement, "I am burdened by data collection requirements."

63.1% -- Agreed with the statement, "The teachers at this school like being here. I would describe us as a satisfied group."

67.4% -- Agreed with the statement, "I often think about staying home from school because I'm just too tired, too stressed or

not motivated to go."

66.6% -- Agreed with the statement, "If I could get a higher-paying job, I'd leave teaching as soon as possible."

© 2008 The Washington Post Company