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Volume 15, Number 5
September/October 1999

Turning Frustration to Fulfillment

New Teachers Need More Help with Discipline


Jenny Kramer* wanted to teach. She spent six years in training—four at a prestigious college and two in a top-ranked masters program—and landed a job in 1996 at a magnet school in Manhattan. Excited by the school's low student-teacher ratio and full-inclusion policies, she looked forward to playing her own small part in school reform. But a few unruly students turned teaching into a daily trial. When students cursed at her, administrators told Kramer to toughen up. More-experienced teachers reacted to Kramer's frustration with a shrug: What did she expect? In June 1999, she quit teaching altogether. "I've had my fill," she says.

Kramer's case is hardly unique. A new survey of 118 school districts across the country shows that nearly 10 percent of public schoolteachers quit during the first year and 20 percent bolt within three years. The survey, conducted by Recruiting New Teachers (RNT), a non-profit organization based in Belmont, MA, found that the biggest barriers to new teachers' success are poor classroom-management skills (82 percent) and disruptive students (57 percent). "It's pretty clear that teacher preparation is inadequate in this area," says the report's co-author, Elizabeth F. Fideler.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.


For Further Information

For Further Information

Recruiting New Teachers, 385 Concord Avenue, Suite 103, Belmont, MA 02478.

T.Dunn, C. Shriner, and C.A. Taylor. "An Analysis of Experienced Teachers' Tacit Knowledge of Classroom Management." Paper presented at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association, April 1999.

The Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Higher Education Research Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, 3005 Moore Hall, Box 951521, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1521.