CHARLOTTE -- Teachers across North Carolina will soon have some extra support in the classroom. UNC Charlotte's College of Education has been chosen to host a new program designed to improve teacher retention.
When Angela Mitchell started a new career last year as a high school English teacher, she didn't know what to expect.
"It is very overwhelming,” the West Meck teacher said. “Your job, ideally, is to teach the students, but you have to have data, that drives the instruction, well guess what, gathering data is a lot of work."
UNC Charlotte officials say 50 percent of new teachers leave the profession within the first five years, but as part of the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program, they're hoping to change that.
"I think the key to convincing teachers to remain in public school is reminding them why they went there in the first place,” said program director Amanda Macon. “They came into schools to help children be productive, to influence the future of the U.S., the world."
The program puts experienced teachers in the classroom to serve as coaches for new educators who are working in high-need areas. For Mitchell, who participated in a similar program last year, it makes all the difference.
"In this program, they come, they observe you and what they see is between the two of you. You can honestly say 'I need help with such and such' or whatever the area is you need help and they're there for you," she said.
Educators say by providing support and building confidence in new teachers, it will lay the groundwork for long, successful careers.
"I've had several teachers say, 'I wish they had that when I started, you are so lucky,' and I say, 'I know,'" Mitchell said.
Funding for the first three years of the program is provided through President Barack Obama's Race to the Top education initiative.