Report: Mentorship, Student Teaching Keys to Teacher Retention

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A new report from the American Institute for Research shows that a new teacher preparation program used by both Aspire Public Schools and the San Francisco Unified School District has been found to be better at retaining new teachers.

The report, “A Million New Teachers are Coming: Will they be Ready to Teach?” discovered that 82% of those teachers who went through the training program at Urban Teacher Residency United were still teaching 5 years after they were hired in their current roles.  The program operates through a partnership with both San Francisco Unified and Aspire, a charter school organization that has 36 locations throughout California.

According to the report, the two main reasons that teachers who are trained through the program continue to teach include the highly selective requirements to enter the program, as well as the extensive amount of time spent student teaching, reports Nicole Gorman for Education World.

The Chicago-based nonprofit only accepts 11% of applicants into the program.  Once accepted, students spend a whole academic year working as student teachers with a mentor teacher, while at the same time participating in master’s-level evening courses, writes Laurie Udesky for EdSource.

The report compared the program to Teach For America, another alternative teacher training program.  While the program is also selective, only admitting 12% of applicants, students in the program only serve as student teachers in physical classrooms for four weeks.  According to the report, the short amount of time spent in the classroom could be the reason that just 28% of teachers who complete the program remain in their teaching roles 5 years after they begin.

A number of suggestions for policymakers and teacher training programs were made within the report in the hopes of retaining over one million properly trained new teachers in the next 10 years.  Suggestions made included a consensus of what new teachers should know prior to entering the classroom, an increase to the time spent student teaching and additional professional development offered to mentoring teachers, and the addition of newer, practice-focused licensure assessments.

The report comes as an effort to better prepare the estimated 1.5 million new teachers expected to hired to teach in schools across the country.  According to the report, if those teachers are not well-prepared, solutions to the education problems facing the nation may not be found and the next generation of students would not receive a high-quality education.

“Teacher education long has been intellectually weak; this further eroded the prestige of an already poorly esteemed profession, and it encouraged many inadequately prepared people to enter teaching,” writes the Holmes Group.