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Science teacher attrition is a topic of frequent discussion among teacher educators, administrators, university educators, and policy makers. While attrition could be described as leaving the workforce for any number of reasons (e.g., retirement, moving to a new location, contract not renewed), those in education often link attrition to teachers who are leaving the work force in their first five years. These expressed concerns for the thinning science teacher work force often entail a statistical reference that is from the work of Ingersoll or data from the National Center for Educational Statistics. As a result, it is not unusual to read that "after just five years, between 40 and 50 percent of all beginning teachers have left teaching altogether," or that the newest and the oldest teachers are leaving the workforce. While these large data sets are important for understanding educational trends, there are limits to their interpretation. Most importantly, they don't provide details that give insights into why newly qualified teachers are leaving the profession. For the last three years, the authors have been involved in a study that follows beginning secondary science teachers during their first, second, and third years of teaching. This study, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, ultimately aims to explore the development of beginning secondary science teachers. While the authors are just beginning the analysis of this data, they have data that depicts and describes science teachers who are in their first year of teaching and who are staying in the profession (stayers), moving to different locations (movers), or leaving the field altogether (leavers). This research report ultimately gives more insight into first-year science teachers and their job situations.
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