Teachers are viewed as one of the most influential factors in improving student learning. Yet it is estimated that 40 to 50 percent of new teachers leave the profession after five years.
According to a National Center for Education Statistics survey, new teachers who receive more support, mentorship, and training are less likely to leave after their first year in the teaching profession.
Research has demonstrated that professional development is crucial to retaining teachers:
A comprehensive teacher induction support system that includes mentorship and seminars led to higher levels of job satisfaction, commitment, and retention, as well as improved teaching instruction and student achievement. More specifically, studies have demonstrated that new teachers who were part of an induction program were more effective. They were better at keeping students on task, developing lessons, and managing the classroom.
Teacher collaboration has led to marked improvement in student achievement. In a study of 1,200 kindergarteners, Carrie R. Leana, professor at the University of Pittsburgh, discovered that students scored higher on math tests when their teachers built relationships with each other and had constructive discussions about math. Teachers without opportunities to collaborate were less able to improve their teaching. In high-poverty schools, in particular, teachers without access to engage and work with other teachers were more likely to plateau after a few years.
These findings are in line with teacher professional development plans in some of the highest-achieving countries in the world. Over the past twenty years, countries such as Japan, Finland, and Germany have invested in helping new teachers navigate the teaching profession. Some of these initiatives include mentorship with veteran teachers, reduced teaching load, shared lesson planning and teacher collaboration, and ten hours per week of teacher professional development
By improving the overall effectiveness and amount of support beginning teacher receive, teachers can continually improve their craft and help students succeed in the classroom.