housecat wrote:In the States, the figures are something like more than 2/3 of new teachers leave the profession within five years.
I don't know how many teachers have been dismissed for imcompetence, but I will admit that it's not easy to fire a teacher, especially a union member.
I can agree that perhaps "some" isn't a large enough word. Of course there are bad teachers--we all feel like we've had at least one, and I know of one real stinker in AR. But I think mostly that it's the fact that the passion and drive are almost surgically removed from most teachers by the realities of working in education.
The figure for new teacher drop out is a little lower in the UK. 40% of people who complete the PGCE are no longer teaching within three years - still a very poor return on investment considering the cost of training. For me, though, this is more of a problem with teacher training. Firstly, there isn't enough classroom practice during the PGCE. Perhaps more importantly, as you've noted, I think a lot of people enter teaching unaware of the drawbacks. Being a kind of shit sandwich for all the various stake-holders (parents, senior teachers, students, OFSTED) can't be much fun, and the almost continual attacks in the media isn't going to help.
I don't think I would ever teach in a state school in the UK - regardless of the long holidays in the summer, free milk in your coffee break, and final salary pension scheme.