In the present times, educational excellence is of ultimate significance towards guaranteeing a productive future for the nation. Education plays an integral role in the opening of opportunities that would have never been realized if an individual had missed education and the subsequent preparation that education provides. The present state of the economy is uncertain, implying that adequate and quality education and training is the solution towards this downturns. However, there are diverse problems that affect education, which imposes negative consequences on the quality of education administered to the students. Therefore, educators have a responsibility of solving the problems if possible in order to offer the best quality of education. One of the significant problems facing education is the increasing rate at which teachers are abandoning the teaching profession, which in turn affects the quality of education. People who are not in the teaching profession claim that it is easy; this is not the case because teaching is an extremely demanding profession that has extremely high levels of pressure and associated responsibility. Irrespective of this, teaching can also be considered to be a rewarding profession. The problem is that an increasing number of teachers cannot conquer the burdensome responsibilities in such a manner that they stick to the profession for a considerable duration of time. In the article by Jalongo, Michael and Knight Heider titled “Editorial teacher attrition: An issue of national concern” in the issue of Early Childhood Education Journal, the authors provides statistics to indicate the prevalence of quitting teachers. According to statistics presented by Jalongo and Heider (45) in their statistics, the number of teachers abandoning the profession is worrying. Approximately 46 % of newly hired teachers quitting the profession in less than five years, the situation is worsened by the fact that newly hired teachers serve to replace the retiring teachers.
It is arguably evident that the rates at which teachers are abandoning the profession are a significant problem facing education. A notable constraint in the present education system is that the funds that are used for searching and hiring new teachers have stretched the education budgets beyond the limit. Kipkowsi (21) also notes that “the financial burden associated with recruiting new teachers is increasing at an alarming rate due to the fact the rate at which teachers are quitting the teaching profession has increased by approximately 15 percent in the last fifteen years, which at presents costs about USD 7 billion annually on district efforts aimed at retaining and recruiting new teachers”. Such a high amount of expenditures can be redirected to cater for other educational expenses that are more beneficial compared to spending on the recruitment of teachers. This trend of teacher turnover does not impose constraints on educational budgets but also affects the students by resulting to a substandard education (Jalongo and Heider 380). It is the responsibility of the educators to offer high quality education to students, the high rates at which teachers are abandoning the teaching profession serves to a significant barrier towards the achievement of this goal.
There are a number of reasons as to why the number of teachers abandoning the profession is relatively high. In the article by Anhorn, Robert titled “The profession that eats its young.” In the Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, Anhorn outlines the various reasons why teachers quit during the early years of their career and the resulting implications on the education system Anhorn (15) discusses some of the significant problems that result to these alarming rates of quitting teachers. Anhorn states “that lack of sufficient resources, increasing cases of isolation, extremely complicated work assignment; cases of role conflicts and reality shock are some of the primary reasons why more teachers are opting to quit the profession”. For teachers who are new to the profession, there is a high percent chance that these states of affairs are not bearable. There is no magical solution but drastic measures can be implemented to ensure that teachers do view leaving the profession as the only solution to the pressures and challenges associated with teaching.
Anhorn (18) offers a number of recommendations that can be used to address the increasing number of quitting teachers. Anhorn recommends that adequate teacher preparation is needed for the newly hired teachers; this can be facilitated using “introductory foundations to enhance classroom management approaches, effective decision making and reflective practices aimed at enhancing student learning”. Substantial preparation is the key towards solving this problem facing education. Most teachers join the profession on hope that teaching is usually fun and has an easy task, which turns out in contrary to their expectations. Anhorn states that substantial preparation plays an integral role in facilitating the teacher transition. Another strategy that could be adopted to reduce the number of quitting teachers is to establish an effective support system for the newly recruited teachers. Support systems also imply that teachers will transfer the same kind of support to their students, which in turn translates to the delivery of high quality education. The support system must comprise of a network of fellow teachers and a number of administrators who are more conversant with requirements that teachers need for survival in their teaching career. The support system needed to prepare the teachers should include teacher education programs, continuing teacher induction programs and education preparation. It is unfortunate that only a few teachers can access this type of support programs. This implies that it is important for educational administrators to recognize and take into account the significance of support systems to the teachers, failure to do are likely to increase the number of quitting teachers, which has already stretched beyond the limit.
Anhorn (20) asserts that the appreciation and valuation of teachers can also help in reducing the number of quitting teachers. This means that assigning extra tasks to newly recruited teachers are likely to result to burdensome responsibilities that they cannot handle, and if they do no manage to handle, they are likely to result to substandard education. Such a state of affairs makes the teachers view quitting as the only option. As noted earlier, there is no magical solution for this problem, but there are measure that can be implemented by continuing teachers and educational administrators to help teachers focus on their career rather than quitting. A fact is that teaching responsibilities can never change, rather the administrative measures can be adopted to ensure that lives of newly recruited teachers are smooth as possible, in order to ensure high quality education is being delivered to the students.
Some people may argue that the increasing teacher attrition rates in the United States are a matter of personal choice by those in the profession. Teachers in practice are usually aware of the demands of the profession, and what is required of them when undertaking their responsibilities. How would one expect teaching to be a rewarding profession yet there are lot of burdensome tasks and responsibilities that they do not receive adequate pay for? Leave alone being appreciated for the hard work and their contributions to guaranteeing quality education, teachers in such a position are likely to consider other income generating options and career changes.
In conclusion, increasing rates teachers abandoning the profession is a significant problem that poses the need to effectively deploy administrative policies aimed at ensuring teacher appreciation and adequate teacher preparation for newly recruited teachers. This problem has to be solved in order to ensure that quality education is administered to the students and reduce the budget costs associated with constant hiring of new teachers. Such funds can be redirected towards other sectors of education to enhance the quality of education.
Anhorn, Robert. “The profession that eats its young.” The Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin 74.3
Jalongo, Michael and Knight Heider. “Editorial teacher attrition: An issue of national concern.”
Early Childhood Education Journal 33.6 (2006): 379-380.
Kopkowski, Charles. “Why they leave.” NEA Today 26.7 (2008): 21-25.