The results of a seven-year research study identify the challenges new teachers face and how all concerned can help keep new teachers in the profession.


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Like thousands before them, the seven teacher-authors of this book started their first teaching jobs full of energy and excitement. They were eager to implement the thoughtful practices and ideas they learned in their methods courses in order to make a lasting difference in their students’ lives and to make a positive change in the profession.

Then reality hit.

After a few weeks in the classroom, some of the teachers found that their excitement and confidence were replaced by self-doubt, isolation, and disappointment. Instead of challenging the status quo in their school systems, some of the teachers found themselves slipping toward it as they tried to bring their teaching visions to life.

In a climate where nearly half of new teachers leave the profession in the first five years, many early-career teachers are facing the same disillusionment and challenges. That’s why these seven teachers got together with a university researcher to study what life is really like for new teachers.

The authors recount their experiences from the preservice year through the first six years of teaching. They share moments of joy and success, but they also tell hard stories about obstacles that drive the knowledge, enthusiasm, and energy of new teachers underground and cause many to leave the profession.

Their stories will resonate with both new and experienced teachers, offer important advice for job seekers, and provide much-needed insights for university faculty, school administrators, colleagues of new teachers, and district leaders to think about how they can better embrace the energy and innovation that new teachers bring while supporting them in moments of insecurity and vulnerability. New teachers will know they are not alone and that even when they feel the least empowered, they actually do have a voice and can use it to effect change.

255 pp. 2006. Grades Pre-K–College. ISBN 978-0-8141-0290-9.