Why are so many new teachers leaving our elementary and secondary schools?

What causes new teachers to drop out?  This project examines educational success in relation to the dropping out of new teachers, an issue that clearly has an impact on students given the high turnover of inexperienced teachers in schools.  More precisely, the project’s objectives were to: 1) identify the factors behind the high attrition rate of new teachers; 2) identify possible solutions to promote the retention of new teachers; 3) gain a better understanding of the link between teacher training practices and new teacher drop-out.

The recommendations in this report seek to promote the professional integration of new teachers.

Carried out in partnership with CRIFPE (Centre de recherche sur la formation et la profession enseignante), CNIPE (Carrefour national  de  l’insertion  professionnelle  des  enseignants)  and  AQEP  (Association  québécoise  des  enseignantes  et  des  enseignants  du  primaire),  our  project  used questionnaires  and interviews with four types of participants (future teachers, new teachers, drop-out teachers and experienced teachers who witnessed teacher drop-out) to shed light on the reasons why new teachers leave the profession.

Our findings revealed several factors. These include the demanding and time-consuming nature of the teaching profession; the management of classrooms of seemingly increasingly unmotivated students, for which new teachers are generally woefully unprepared; unsatisfactory work conditions compared with other professions; and restrictive administrative policies. Not to mention the fact that new teachers are almost always assigned to the more difficult classes, while the so-called “easier” classes are reserved for veteran teachers.

The recommendations presented at the end of the report are directed at the school system and seek to promote the professional integration of new teachers who will be able to support students along their educational path and, ultimately, help them to succeed in school.

Main researcher

Thierry P. Karsenti, Université de Montréal


Research report

Call for proposals

Deposit of the research report: June 2015