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New Teacher Attrition and Retention
Unformatted Document Text:  Accountability at the Preservice Level Statistics reveal that up to 33% of beginning teachers exit the teaching profession within their first five years of service in the state of South Carolina. With fewer people entering the profession, rising retirement numbers and the growth of school age populations, teacher shortages have become a concern nationwide. Other than the numbers, research shows little is known about the South Carolina teachers who leave. More information is needed to better understand the problem of attrition in order to draw implications for teacher retention. This study’s survey was mailed to 359 former South Carolina teachers. The sample, identified from lists of teachers provided by the Department of Education, entered the teaching field for the first time in 1996, only to exit by the year 2000, with a maximum of three years experience. This survey was based on a conceptual model that describes influences on teachers’ career decisions, considering external, personal and professional factors (NCES, 1997). Those who responded to the survey were also invited to interview on the topic of teacher attrition. A total of 69% of respondents volunteered to be interviewed and share their personal stories about their leaving the South Carolina teaching force. Analysis of responses from the survey and interviews revealed that the lack of support for the beginning teacher was a dominant factor in teacher attrition. The most problematic areas for those who left teaching involved lack of support from administrators, difficulty with students, and workload issues. It is the conclusion of this study that beginning teachers must receive adequate support in the areas of community support, classroom behavior management and workload management, if they are to successfully survive the first difficult years of teaching. This study holds implications for teacher preparation programs, school, district and state policy makers, if teacher attrition and retention numbers are to be improved.

Authors: Eggen, Dr. Belinda.
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Accountability at the Preservice Level
Statistics reveal that up to 33% of beginning teachers exit the teaching profession within their
first five years of service in the state of South Carolina. With fewer people entering the profession,
rising retirement numbers and the growth of school age populations, teacher shortages have become
a concern nationwide. Other than the numbers, research shows little is known about the South
Carolina teachers who leave. More information is needed to better understand the problem of
attrition in order to draw implications for teacher retention.
This study’s survey was mailed to 359 former South Carolina teachers. The sample,
identified from lists of teachers provided by the Department of Education, entered the teaching field
for the first time in 1996, only to exit by the year 2000, with a maximum of three years experience.
This survey was based on a conceptual model that describes influences on teachers’ career decisions,
considering external, personal and professional factors (NCES, 1997).
Those who responded to the survey were also invited to interview on the topic of teacher
attrition. A total of 69% of respondents volunteered to be interviewed and share their personal stories
about their leaving the South Carolina teaching force. Analysis of responses from the survey and
interviews revealed that the lack of support for the beginning teacher was a dominant factor in
teacher attrition. The most problematic areas for those who left teaching involved lack of support
from administrators, difficulty with students, and workload issues. It is the conclusion of this study
that beginning teachers must receive adequate support in the areas of community support, classroom
behavior management and workload management, if they are to successfully survive the first
difficult years of teaching. This study holds implications for teacher preparation programs, school,
district and state policy makers, if teacher attrition and retention numbers are to be improved.


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