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Sunday, June 4, 2023

If you want to retain the best teachers, say goodbye to the worst

Educator Barnes is an educator and education reporter. She attended school in Indianapolis, K-12, and is a graduate of Purdue University (B.S.) and IUPUI (M.S.). In addition to her work as an educator, she navigates the education system as a parent of identical twin boys.

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Todd Whitaker, an educator and author of numerous education books, once said, “The culture of any organization is shaped by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate.” Before the COVID-19 pandemic, some teachers bounced from school to school or left the profession completely. This increased even more during the pandemic as issues that some schools had were magnified. Earlier this month, WHO (World Health Organization) stated the COVID emergency was over. Unfortunately, schools returning to pre-pandemic status have not stopped teachers from leaving the profession. One issue that is not looked at is who is leaving the profession. Too many times, it is great teachers who are leaving.

You would think that teachers who don’t like teaching, don’t like children and don’t want to improve their craft would leave. That is not always the case. I have worked with teachers who stated they didn’t like children, ones who came to work under the influence and ones who were even suspended, but they didn’t quit, nor were they helped to the exit.

When teachers are hard-working, it gets exhausting to watch colleagues who do the minimum remain as great colleagues continue to leave. At some point, they look for the exit as well. People who are not an asset in school buildings should be coached to improve or coached out the door. Our students deserve better, and their colleagues deserve better.

When a teacher is constantly a no-show or repeatedly comes late, who has to cover that class and give up their prep? When a teacher has poor classroom management, who gets the class with fewer behavior issues the following year? When a teacher struggles to write a coherent lesson plan, who gets asked to help the teacher? The answer to all of these questions is efficient, effective teachers. They are starting to say, “Enough.”

As this school year is coming to a close, I need school leaders to reevaluate who they are keeping on their roster. I need them to think of the weakest players and make a game plan for the following school year. If they don’t, great teachers will continue to leave.

Contact Indy Kids Winning reporter Educator Barnes at 317-721-2181 or shawntab@indyrecorder.com. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & TikTok @educatorbarnes.

Educator Barnes’ work is supported through a partnership between Indy Kids Winning and the Indianapolis Recorder. Visit indykidswinning.com to learn more.

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