Teacher retention rates low in first years

Topeka (KSNT) – “We want to do all we can to get teachers in here, make them feel comfortable, build a relationship with them, and keep them for a long, long time,” says Topeka Public Schools Communication Director, Ron Harbaugh.

An optimistic thought, but most teachers aren’t staying .

A third of teachers leave the profession after their first three years, and half leave after their first five years, according to a study from the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. But the high statistics don’t surprise other teachers.

“The first year is definitely the hardest because everything is both new to you and new to the students, and you’re new to the community,” says Silver Lake High School teacher, Steven Meier.

Meier says he did have days where he contemplated quitting, but now in his third year, he says every year gets a little better.

“We know that first year or two if we don’t show that support, there’s a chance they might leave the profession,” says Harbaugh.

The turnover rates for teachers is why the Topeka School District sets up mentoring for all new teachers.

The reason most teachers leave is because often they feel underpaid, under supported, and overwhelmed.

“[Teachers] help a classroom of 32 kids with different needs and different dreams, achieve and that’s a real challenge for any one,” says KNEA spokesman, Marcus Baltzell.

He says that when teachers feel overwhelmed, it can leave their students feeling disengaged.
“If one suffers, so does the other,” says Baltzell.

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