Your views: Loss of experienced teachers a blow to education in state

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Teacher turnover through resignation or retirement is at an all-time high in most Wisconsin school districts. Many find teaching more difficult then originally anticipated, and with society’s harsh criticism and lack of public support other professions become more attractive.
The proclamation that teacher turnover is good because new inexperienced teachers bring energy and enthusiasm to the profession and that the district can save money by paying entry level salaries is without merit. Energy and enthusiasm is only a small part of being a good teacher. A good teacher is a professional who has mastered the subject matter to be taught but equally important the art of teaching. The exit of senior professional teachers denies new teachers the opportunity to grow by sharing in their cumulative knowledge of educational best practices.
Classroom management, individualized instruction, discipline, motivational techniques, teaching at a level that reaches all children, effective parent contact, grading, dealing with administrative expectations and good peer relationships are skills largely learned from senior teachers. That exchange is critical to a new teacher’s success.
With the demise of the American family and the coarsening of our culture, children present themselves to the school with a host of needs that must be addressed. Cleanliness, nutrition, medical attention, counseling on issues of abuse, parent neglect and neighborhood conflict must be dealt with before instruction. The dedicated Wisconsin teachers that daily face the abandonment and neglect of our children deserve our admiration and support.

former state superintendent of public instruction

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