SPOKANE, Wash.—Spokane Public Schools is working to combat a troubling national trend with teachers that can be found right here in Spokane.
The National Center for Education Statistics showed that 10 percent of new teachers quit after their first year and 17 percent quit after the first five years.
The first few years on any job is tough; but it’s especially the case for teachers. NCES data shows 10% of teachers leave after their first year, and 17% within the first five years. pic.twitter.com/7yMNmgdlwW— Rob Harris (@KREMRob) November 13, 2017
Spokane School District Administrators said they were seeing a high rate of new teachers resigning within the district.
.@spokaneschools has been seeing this trend here. After tracking disproportionate resignations from new teachers, they have been working to connect them with resources and tools to get through these tough initial years. pic.twitter.com/wSPaismkrp— Rob Harris (@KREMRob) November 13, 2017
Fourth grade teacher Erron Watson said he understood the difficulties of being a new teacher. He has been teaching for seven years, but said he knows that means there will still be mistakes.
“I remember walking into the classroom on the first day, and I was like ‘Wow. This is actually my classroom. Now what do I do?’” said Watson.
Spokane Public Schools Director of Quality Initiatives, Kim Harmon said that after receiving resignation after resignation from new teachers, it was time to give new teacher the tools they needed to succeed.
Harmon said one of the key tools is the teacher mentor program that pairs new teachers with a mentor.
Date from NCES showed that teachers who are assigned mentors are less likely to leave.
Harmon said out of the new teachers that resigned she didn’t recognize most of the year one teacher’s names.
“I knew that meant they weren't’t accessing the supports we have for brand new teachers in the district,” said Harmon.
Fifth grade teacher Megan Larson is experiencing her first year teaching.
Larson said the supports the school district provided her help adjusting to the new teacher trials.
“You need to give yourself grace because you can be a wonderful teacher and your passion is great, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be perfect right off the bat,” said Larson.
Harmon said now that the school district sees the problem, administrators try to intervene early on.