Yesterday I felt like a dog chasing his tail in circles. I just couldn’t find what I was looking for. I had no information on teacher turnover rates in the 1960’s. I thought I had read that they spiked during this time, but I couldn’t find any evidence of the sort. I searched and I searched, and I basically came across nothing of substance. Then, I looked at the gigantic pile of books I have been ordering from the library (they’re beginning to surround me on both sides of the desk as if to bury me alive as I type this). I found a book that described the history of the teacher shortage problem. I read the first chapter, and then spent about an hour writing one, yes just one, paragraph about my new findings.
I went to class, which is honestly just feeling like a burden at this point. Once I get into the groove of working, I hate to stop everything I’m doing and leave. I was feeling really looney and silly once I got to class; likely a symptom of the solitary confinement to my desk. Disinterested in the conversation that was happening, I began to do some more google scholar searches on turnover in the 1960’s. Among my findings was this fantastic little piece: How to Kill a Good Teacher, which so perfectly captures my experience in teaching; particularly the constant surveillance and menial tasks. It’s amazing to me that something so poignant could have been written in the 1960’s, and yet, we’ve only exacerbated the problem in the the current neoliberal policy context of education.
I slept in this morning, and I’m glad I did. I just feel so much better when an alarm doesn’t wake me up. I hate alarms. I organized all my findings from last night’s class, and began reading. I was feeling discouraged. I didn’t know where to start, and I wasn’t sure I would find anything useful. I came across a report which summarized teacher turnover in the 1960’s and tried to predict turnover in the 70’s. This study found that turnover was higher in disadvantaged schools, which is an important characteristic of my research problem. I feel like I can begin to summarize the problem of turnover and relate it to the policy context of education. This is good. Now, I’m off to write up these findings (in a paragraph that will probably take me over an hour to draft).