New teachers rate their first year

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In June, Catalyst mailed a survey to 1,548 teachers hired by the Chicago Public Schools in 1998-99 to see if they intended to return to the same school next year; 428, or 28 percent, responded. Of those,

84% said Yes

13% said No

3% were undecided

Of those planning to leave:

54% might transfer to another Chicago public school

25% might leave for another school district

12% might leave teaching

12% gave no response

4% were moving away

3% might teach at the college level

3% might seek an advanced degree

1% might return to substitute teaching

1% might take a leave of absence

Note: Some teachers were considering more than one option. Some teachers who intended to stay put said they wanted to leave but would not.

Why new teachers leave

In surveying newly hired teachers, Catalyst asked those planning to leave their schools why.

The most said

60% a lack of support from the principal

46% the school is poorly run

46% poor student discipline

Many said

41% a lack of support from parents

36% a lack of materials and supplies

30% low student motivation to learn

30% feel overworked

26% a lack of influence over important decisions

23% disagree with school’s teaching philosophy

23% too much paperwork

22% a lack of time to plan

19% a lack of support from other teachers

17% isolation from other teachers

17% class size is too large

Some said

16% moving out of the Chicago area

13% feel unqualified for their assigned position

12% the school is overcrowded

12% the school is unsafe

12% their position was closed

10% don’t enjoy teaching

9% found a better position elsewhere

A few said

7% want higher salary

7% were asked to leave

4% want to pursue other profession

New teachers rate principals

The Catalyst survey asked teachers new to the district last year to rate the support they received from their principals in a number of areas as strong, moderate or little to none.

Percent who said their principals provided strong support on:

Materials and supplies: 44%

Student discipline: 43%

Record keeping: 38%

Instruction: 36%

Percent who said their principals provided little or no support on:

Instruction: 31%

Record keeping: 28%

Student discipline: 27%

Materials and supplies: 22%

Notes: Teachers who reported strong support from their principals were much less likely to leave their schools. This was especially true of elementary school teachers.

Of elementary school teachers who said their principal provided little or no support on instruction, 36 percent planned to leave.

Of those who said their principal provided strong support on instruction, less than 1 percent planned to leave.

New teachers rate colleagues

Catalyst asked teachers new to the district to rate the support they received from other teachers as strong, moderate or little to none. Overall, teachers gave their colleagues higher ratings than they gave their principals.

Percent who said other teachers provided strong support in:

Instruction 54%

Classroom management 52%

Sharing supplies 60%

Record keeping 53%

Overall, newly hired teachers said they received more support from other teachers than from the principal.

On instruction:

13% received little or no support from other teachers

31% received little or no support from the principal

On student discipline and classroom management:

13% received little or no support from other teachers

27% received little or no support from the principal

The high school difference

Across the board, high school teachers reported receiving somewhat less support from their principals than did elementary school teachers. The sharpest discrepancy was on materials and supplies.

Percent who received little or no support from their principal in obtaining materials and supplies

Elementary teachers 19%

High school teachers 31%

Percent of teachers intending to leave their schools who indicated the lack of materials and supplies was among the reasons

Elementary teachers 28%

High school teachers 75%