“Nearly half of all beginning teachers will leave their classrooms within five years, only to be replaced by another fresh-faced educator.”
Teacher turnover is a huge problem with costly effects. There are many reasons why retaining teachers is tough: low wages, lack of time and support to plan and individualize instruction, and a growing need for ongoing professional development (just to name a few). As the former director of a large university-based early child care center and a consultant to Head Start and Early Head Start programs throughout the Southeast United States, I had the opportunity to observe this revolving door of early childhood educators one too many times. I saw teachers enter their classrooms with the best of intentions and a high need for support.
Take for instance Ms. Jackie, a first year pre-K teacher at a child care center in South Florida. Jackie started the year excited and eager. She had always loved working with young children. Within the first few weeks of her school year, Jackie quickly realized the many requirements expected of her. Jackie was immersed in learning new curriculum and assessment tools. She had home visits to complete, Individualized Education Plans to work on, and children and families’ expectations to meet. On top of it all, Jackie knew the state required her to complete a minimum of 10-clock-hours or one Continuing Education Unit (CEU) annually.
Every morning as she entered her classroom, she was faced with 18 active children who didn’t sit the way she thought they would or participate as expected for her well-intentioned lesson plans. She did not realize the amount of time and and difficulty it takes to transition a group of 4-year-olds from one activity to another. As the days pass, Jackie is starting to feel more and more overwhelmed by her new job and begins to doubt her own abilities. She wants information and support around effective teaching practices.
Just like Jackie, teachers are in need of and deserve high quality continuing education programs. Adult learning research tells us that successful professional development programs are those that are anchored in teachers’ actual practice and use research-based principles linked to outcomes. It is for this reason that I am so excited about Teachstone’s announcement of our partnership with IACET. This partnership gives Teachstone the newfound ability to offer teachers CEUs for our research-based programs that help teachers understand, identify, and learn strategies around effective classroom interactions that lead to improved child outcomes.
So...why is this announcement so exciting?
And...how can these CEUs help retain quality educators? Quite simply, when teachers feel more supported and successful in their classrooms, they are more likely to stay in them!
As the former Vice President of Education and Program Operations, as well as the Head Start/Early Head Start Program Director, of a large Chicago Agency, I am often asked the question, “How did you get your CLASS scores to rise so much?” Our Pre-K Instructional Support scores rose from a 2.65 to a 3.74 the first year, and from a 3.74 to a 4.17 the second year. It wasn’t an easy process. And it was up to us to show our teachers the importance of teacher-student interactions and slowly introduce how CLASS scores could be used to improve these interactions.
Below are three steps we took to introduce the importance of CLASS and interactions to our teachers and, ultimately, raise our CLASS scores.
When my first child was born, I was 30. I was also married, had a master’s degree, and taught in a district that paid pretty well. During my pregnancy, I learned what to look for in high-quality child care and I thought I knew how to find it. What I didn’t know was that even though my husband and I both worked, we couldn’t afford quality child care.
A year ago, urged on by my insightful new colleague, Manda Klein, who was born and raised in Texas, I wrote a blog entitled, At Our Core. It praised the bipartisan efforts to discontinue the practice of separating children from their parents and caregivers at our country’s borders.