Several studies have shown that almost 25% of new teachers leave the profession in the first seven years. Why is teacher retention so problematic? What happens once a new teacher takes up a teaching position in an elementary or secondary school?
Investing in teacher retention is likely to have a major impact on the academic success of students.
This project sought to provide answers to these questions. A total of 1848 people from various disadvantaged schools took part in this study: 721 new teachers, 253 experienced teachers, 47 people responsible for supervising newly arrived teachers (administrators, etc.) and 827 students.
Our results show that the quantity, variety and quality of teacher retention measures put in place greatly contribute to a better professional integration of new teachers. Our study also highlighted one measure that is particularly effective for increasing retention: the presence of an easily-accessible mentor. This appears to greatly help teachers, especially those who have just arrived, to deal with the many challenges they face.
Our research also led to several recommendations for teacher training, including preparing future teachers to ask for help when they encounter significant difficulties.
Finally, our study is one of the first to show a statistically significant link between teacher dropout in two key subjects (mathematics and French) and the intention to leave school among high school students. This finding indicates that investing in teacher retention is also likely to have a major impact on the academic success of their students.
Main researcher: Thierry P. Karsenti, Université de Montréal
Original title: Identification des mesures les plus efficaces pour contrer la pénurie et favoriser la rétention du personnel enseignant dans les écoles de milieux défavorisés