It’s not surprising that 41 percent of teachers in the New York City system, the largest in the nation, quit the classroom during the first five years on the job (“City teachers fleeing New York at an alarming rate: report,” The New York Post, Jun. 25). I say that because new teachers are totally unprepared for the realities of what they face on a daily basis.
Licensing places far too little emphasis on the challenges that new teachers deal with. They’re given no mentors and are expected to sink or swim. It’s a prescription for disaster. Turnover is predictably higher in schools with large numbers of students from low-income families who bring huge deficits to the classroom. Before teachers can begin to teach subject matter, they must perform triage. Eventually, this wears them out and they quit.
Residency program during the year that college graduates are working on their license can help prepare them. They’re akin to apprenticeships, where students combine classroom instruction and hands-on experience. There will always be some turnover, but the appalling rate reported makes changes mandatory.
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