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Study shows large number of new Alabama teachers quit within first 3 years

Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 11:39 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A new report shows more than half of Alabama’s first time teachers are quitting within just a few years on the job.

The Alabama Commission on the Evaluation of Services looked at teacher retention across the state and the findings show that first-time teachers in Alabama only stay for more than three years around 50% of the time.

One local teacher told WBRC that she isn’t shocked at that number, because of the workload required of them.

Helena Teacher Amanda Miller said there is no overtime for educators. They get a 30 minute planning period for state required paperwork, lesson planning, and anything else they need to do. It is the only time during the day they don’t have students. Miller said it’s not enough time to get done all the requirements by the state. Miller said many teachers have to bring their work home with them, stay late or come in early just to be on track.

She said classroom sizes are also too large. Teachers can struggle with classroom control, grading, and individual attention for students.

“There is a huge amount of state demands and paperwork that is put on the teachers,” Miller said. “You have to do so many things to prepare your classroom, to prepare the lessons, and that is just basically on your own time. Teachers might think ‘you know, I can go work at the bank and I don’t have to bring the work home with me and make the same amount of money’.”

Miller said new teachers leaving instead of staying in the profession doesn’t just impact co-workers and the students, but costs the state.

“It costs the state tons of money with all the rollover we have because you always have to have all the trainings we have to do,” she said. “Whenever somebody leaves, you have to start all over again with all the trainings that have to happen.”

Alabama State Superintendent Eric Mackey said they are working on improving the state’s mentorship program for new teachers.

“If they come in and say ‘hey this is overwhelming or I don’t understand it’, we have to pair them with a teacher or principal who can help them through those first couple years so we don’t lose them,” Mackey said. “We know if teachers stay with us for five years, they are almost certain to make a career out of it.”

The study shows that the cost of replacing these first-time teachers is estimated between nine thousand and forty thousand dollars per new hire. In the last 10 years, the study shows first time teachers leaving has likely cost Alabama between $146 million and $652 million. It reports that in the last 10 years, 16,305 teachers have left.

Click here for the full study.

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