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Building your support systems

Who can you support?
Who can you support?

According to the National Center for Statistics the national average turnover rate for teachers is 17% with teachers from urban districts leaving at a rate of 20%.  According to the Boston Globe,  a 2004-'05 study done in the Boston public schools showed that 57 percent of new teachers were leaving after three years.

School districts are trying to solve the problem by recruiting more teachers, but Tom Carroll, President of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future says that the problem is not recruitment, but rather retention, and likens it to "continually dumping sand into a bucket with holes in it." In fact the commission estimates that 1/3 of all new teachers will be leaving the profession after 3 years and within 5 years we will lose a total of 46%.

Administrators themselves are feeling overwhelmed by the demands from district, state, and federal initiative and educators often feel their hard work is not appreciated.

One important way to alleviate the problem is to build up our own support systems.  Where can we find support?

Here are some common sources of teacher support:

Fellow Teachers (New teachers, experienced teachers, funny teachers, organized teachers, male teachers, etc.) Surround yourself with a variety of colleagues and do not hesitate to seek them out in times of need.


Other school support (School secretary, administration, custodians, cafeteria help, support staff, school counselor) We were all told when we first started teaching, who are greatest resources would be ... Office secretary and custodian.


Family (Spouse, parents, siblings, children, etc) Never turn down advice from younger family members. My 12 year old son gave me one of the best pep talks after a hard day of work.


Professional support (Massage therapist, physician, therapist, yoga instructor, life coach) As a counselor, coach, eldest sibling, and mom I benefit greatly from my professional support system. I know when I go to my massage therapist each month, for that hour she is there for just me and I am not giving to anyone, but myself.

Action Steps

  • Choose 3 people from each category of support persons

  • Journal about why they are important to you and how you can utilize their support or help.

  • Next list ways to show them your appreciation.

  • Make a list of 5 colleagues and then right which support type you are to them, see how many people you can include on your list of persons you will support.

What has been the most helpful thing someone has done that really made a difference to you?



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