Almost a fifth of 78 new teachers in the South Island expect to give up teaching by their fifth year after graduation. (Photo \ File)

A Canterbury teacher is calling for teacher aide’s in every classroom for those early in their career.

Caitlin Turner will be in her fifth year of teaching this year.

Her words follow the results of an NZEI survey released last week.

It showed almost a fifth of 78 new teachers in the South Island expect to give up teaching by their fifth year after graduation.

Ms Turner agrees that low pay, a lack of support and a very high workload make it hard for new teachers to live a balanced lifestyle.

“To get through what we have to get through, you have to put in extra hours,” she said.

“My average week is probably 50 hours, or 55 and that’s a slow week.”

Ms Turner said she didn’t grasp those challenges when she was a student teacher five years ago.

“When you’re a student you’re just very open-minded and you’re just trying to get in there and teach, but my eyes were opened in the first year of teaching.”

The head of the University of Canterbury’s School of Teacher Education, Professor Letitia Fickel, thinks the culture of a school makes a big difference for new teachers.

She said that when a new school is a supportive and mentoring environment, “a real community”, new teachers tend to stick with the profession.

However, Ms Fickel said it’s important we ensure new teachers remain vibrant, excited and enthusiastic about the job after they enter the workforce.

“There needs to be much more thought across the system about the supports and mechanisms that are put in place to smooth and ease and support that transition.”

Source: Newstalk ZB

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