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ERIC Number: EJ852903
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0271-6062
Scratching the Seven-Year Itch
Doan, Kim; Peters, Marilyn
Principal, v89 n1 p18-22 Sep-Oct 2009
The challenge of retaining beginning teachers, particularly in shortage areas such as special education, math, and science, has long been the focus of both research and special induction programs at universities and in school districts. The difficulty of retaining mid-career teachers, however, has received little attention in comparison. Such teachers--those with six or more years of classroom experience--can face frustrations, question their career choice, and look for growth opportunities outside of the profession. Principals aren't always equipped with sound strategies to retain such teachers, who typically are at their prime and have much to contribute to their classrooms, their teacher colleagues, and the entire school community. To implement successful strategies, however, it's important to understand and recognize the teaching trajectory. According to Ralph Fessler and Judith Christensen, authors of "The Teacher Career Cycle," teachers evolve through eight stages: pre-service, induction, competency building, enthusiasm and growth, frustration, stability but stagnation, wind down, and exit. These researchers agree that the next career stage is the crucial one. At about the seven-year mark, Michael Huberman writes that teachers might take one of two paths: the experimentation/diversification path or the shock-taking/interrogation path. Faced with the prospect of many years of boredom with many more years before retirement, some leave the profession in an attempt to find themselves. Principals can make several classroom-related opportunities to keep teachers enthusiastic. Principals also can help mid-career teachers shake the seven-year itch by making them aware of opportunities outside of the classroom and the school building. This article offers such strategies.
National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). 1615 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Tel: 800-386-2377; Tel: 703-684-3345; Fax: 800-396-2377; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A