Letter-to-the Editor: Why We Can’t Keep Good Teachers

Posted on October 8, 2016



Chuck Hughes, Board of Education, Salisbury, N.C.

♦ Teacher exodus from Rowan-Salisbury School System is real. However, the question is if this is an economic driven exodus or is it due to some other motivation? Think about it.  Given the choice of a pay raise or the option of teaching in a classroom where the teacher actually has control, most would choose the latter. If anyone enters the teaching profession anticipating great financial rewards, they are misguided.  Teaching and wealth don’t appear on the same page.  Teachers want and deserve outstanding pay.  They have to put food on the table and pay bills.

If teacher exit interviews were obtained, as I have repeatedly asked them to be, I believe we would see the flight from education to be motivated by the need for  less stressful, less hostile and less disruptive learning environments.  When children are allowed to consistently disrupt the classroom by fighting, cussing out teachers or other misbehavior holding the education of other students hostage,  the classroom becomes distracting and stressful for both students and teachers.

Recognizing the negative affect of classroom disruption on education, our Board of Education developed a pilot program to address it – the Restorative Classroom. Students who are consistently disruptive in the classroom are transferred to one of the Restorative Classrooms equipped with specialized teachers, behavior specialists and social workers where each student can obtain the individual attention needed to address both behavior and education.

This approach to what I believe is a major problem in education, as well as teacher retention, is productive on several levels:

• Students are now in a classroom free of disruption and fear are able to focus on learning.

• Teachers are now free to do what they became teachers to do – teaching.

• Students who are in need of special attention get the specialized attention they require at an age where change is more likely to be more receptive.

If this new program is successful, as I believe it will be, we may eventually put Henderson Independent out of business.

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