Studies from around the world point to a retention crisis for young teachers and one U of A professor wants to investigate how to turn this drain into a gain.

Every year hundreds of education graduates enter into the classroom in Alberta with a passion to share their knowledge.

But within a span of three to four years, about 40 per cent of these new teachers desert the profession, said University of Alberta Professor Jean Clandinin, who specializes in teacher education and development, citing a provincial study.

“This is costly,” Clandinin told Metro on Thursday.

“These are career teachers. I think it’s very serious for economic reasons.”

For Clandinin, the first step in reversing this ominous trend is to find out from the ex-teachers, hear their stories and understand how their career goal changed so dramatically.

By speaking to them (and she said she’s heard from some of them already) Clandinin hopes that those that come forward would help others adapt and thrive in their chosen profession.

She said there’s a “precipitous rise” in new teachers leaving not just in Alberta but across Canada, Australia and the United States.

Clandinin said quantitative studies conducted in the U.S.A indicate that most new educators check off salary, working condition, and lack of professional development as some of the top reasons they abandon teaching.

However, Clandinin said it’s “dangerous” to assume that that’s the case here in Alberta and disagreed with labelling the desertions “a weeding out of bad teachers.”

“If they choose to leave, then our schools are losing out,” said Clandinin.