Teaching is an art. Many great teachers have unique ways of engaging students, they welcome family involvement and are wholistically supporting students. This requires valuable time and energy when it is done effectively.
In 2018, Gallup published survey results that determined why teachers leave the profession. The results suggested that nearly 60% of teachers voluntarily leave due to lack of development and advancement.
Knowing information like this is critical for school divisions and teacher recruitment programs in order to provide better opportunities for teachers. Retention efforts are a shared responsibility between school divisions and school leadership. Each setting requires targeted efforts in order to keep the best teachers.
Educational leaders can use these retention strategies and best practices to encourage long term teacher instruction.
Believe it or not, retention starts with recruitment. The way in which teachers are introduced to a school division or network is as important as their first day of school. Recruitment teams are getting creative about showcasing their schools as an effort to bring in the best.
Each school division and specific school sites have their own flavor. They have norms and habits that speak to the school culture and expectations. Often in the recruitment phase, teachers are introduced to these aspects of the school through a robust interview process. This includes opportunities to welcome new teachers and invite them to engage with other staff and leadership. Building this relationship early is a necessary part of retention. This experience will have teachers wanting to be a part of a community of educators.
Who doesn’t like gifts? Recruitment best practice: have cool and functional swag. For new teachers, this could include umbrellas, jackets, pens, notebooks, or backpacks with the school logo. It is the first step in showing school pride and also serves as way to build community. These items support their transition and reiterate the idea of team and community.
Teachers are a very important part of the school staff. They often make up the largest group beyond students and are equally as impacted by the school climate and culture.
Developing and sustaining a positive school culture is important to teachers. Positive school culture speaks to the inclusiveness of a school. It invites the teaching staff to lead with a level of agency that promotes learning and supports students. Teachers should be spending more time with creative instruction and less time managing behaviors or other distractions. School cultures that value the diversity of the teaching staff, which ultimately impacts instruction, will retain teachers.
Building relationships begins during the recruitment phase but is sustained once the teachers have started in their roles. There are many types of relationships that need to be focused on. For instance, school leaders and teachers, new teachers and veteran teachers, teachers and support staff, teachers and families, and the list continues. All of these relationships provide support, insight, and guidance and add to a sense of belonging. You sometimes hear of teachers talking about their school families. This is a real concept. The school community can both negatively and positively influence someone’s decision to teach another year or leave the profession.
The advancement of teachers is important to build future education leaders. Providing opportunities for teachers to improve their practice is important. This could include opportunities to use technology, attend subject area conferences, or engage in professional learning communities that build on their skills. For some teachers earning advanced degrees or certifications will allow them to be more even more effective educators.
Create incentives that motivate and encourage great teaching practices. This could include tangible items or recognition of their efforts through different actions. For example, teacher incentives could be providing additional resources for classroom use or financial supports for special projects. Additionally, create opportunities for teachers to lead or have other staff recognize the teacher for their hard work. Gratitude goes a long way. Teachers may also be incentivized by opportunities or items that promote self-care. Encouraging teachers to be their best self will directly inform their practice.
We all recognize the value of our teachers but at times we fail to acknowledge the hard work and sacrifice made by teachers to support and serve our young people. Like any profession, teachers deserve to work in environments that provide support, encourage personal and professional development and compensates them for their work. Teaching is a craft that should be rewarded we must do so to keep our best educators in the field.
Here at Kickboard we have seen school culture transform. We also have the tools and resources to support your school team as they begin to implement PBIS as a way to promote positive school culture. Click here to learn more about how Kickboard can support PBIS in your school.