One of our most respected colleagues announced his plans to leave TMS2 a few days ago. It was a surprising announcement, and while he's moving to what are probably greener pastures, it's hard not to have mixed feelings about someone who was so integral to the school community departing.
For a school that is, by just about any measure, of pretty good quality, we have a fairly high turnover rate. Not as high as some schools, for sure, but this past year we started nearly a dozen new teachers, including a handful of brand-new ones from TFA. In a small school, that's about 25%. There were years, when I was in school, when my school didn't get a single new teacher. But in New York City, and particularly in some of the small schools, staff turnover is not so much a problem as it is a simple fact of life.
This particular colleague isn't my primary concern, anyway. I'm thinking of another colleague who is capping the dry-erase markers forever after this semester, or two who quit last year to go to med school and law school. I know this game isn't for everyone, and people who decide it isn't for them are likely going to be better at something else anyway. But I've long worried about the people who could have been great teachers that the system just chews up. The bureaucracy, the stress, the constant change, the lack of support in keeping a classroom and a school well-ordered and safe...it all adds up.
So I'm about to head down the hall to get the Brooklyn-Queens Day PDs underway, and I'm wondering if I'll see any new faces. And while I'm always excited to learn what these new colleagues can bring to the table, I can't say that I don't worry about what's being lost with every swing of the revolving door, too.