Teachers now are more likely than ever to be young and new to the profession, according to recent research. Some say there are benefits that come with a younger teaching force, including an increased familiarity with technology. “They’re going to have grown up digital natives,” said Susan Fuhrman, president of Columbia University’s Teachers College.
With three years of teaching under her belt, Allison Frieze nearly qualifies as a grizzled veteran. The 28-year-old special education teacher at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School here already has more experience than the typical U.S. teacher.
She remembers her first year and says no new teacher really wants to relive that. “You have so many pressures on you and you’re kind of swimming, trying to keep your head above water with all of the things you have to do,” Frieze says.
Research suggests that parents this fall are more likely than ever to find that their child’s teachers are relatively new to the profession, and possibly very young.
Recent findings by Richard Ingersoll at the University of Pennsylvania show that as teacher attrition rates have risen, from about 10% to 13% for first-year teachers, schools are having to hire large numbers of new teachers. Between 40% to 50% of those entering the profession now leave within five years in what Ingersoll calls a “constant replenishment of beginners.”
The end result: a more than threefold increase in the sheer number of inexperienced teachers in U.S. schools. In the 1987-88 school year, Ingersoll estimates, there were about 65,000 first-year teachers; by 2007-08, the number had grown to more than 200,000. In the 1987-88 school year, he found, the biggest group of teachers had 15 years of experience. By the 2007-08 school year, the most recent data available, the biggest group of teachers had one year experience.
What should parents expect from these new teachers, and how should they interact?
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