Teachers are the most important assets of a school and the nation as they educate the youth, who are the backbone of the country. Long working hours with excess workloads make them opt for professions that demand less and have higher pay. This makes it difficult for schools a nd their management to replace the teachers, attract new ones or retain the current best teachers. So, it is important to follow all possible measures to avoid teachers from leaving the organizations. Read on to check effective ways of teacher retention.
Why is Teacher Retention Important?
The shortage of good teachers can have a major impact on students' achievement. Teachers with less experience will trigger educational inequities in the school system. Lack of training makes them incompetent for teaching subject matter and helping students in social-emotional learning. This makes teacher retention important, and hence the district leaders need to come up with innovative solutions for addressing the challenges in retaining good teachers, such as funding, cost of living, local opportunities for employment, and the Covid pandemic.
Ways of Retaining Teachers
Here are some ways which can encourage teachers to continue their job without looking for alternative jobs:
Increase learning opportunities
Many experienced teachers want to learn and grow rather than just becoming headteachers of senior leaders. So, providing them ample learning opportunities will ensure their retention by keeping them motivated. It will even keep them happy and enhance their performance.
Encouraging self-reflection by providing them with ways to create their videos while teaching so that they can observe it keenly to consider ways of enhancing their teaching practice can help them improve in their role. The same thing can also be done for other teachers, so they can watch others in action and get new ideas to implement in the classroom. Besides this, in sales and sports, coaching and mentoring can be provided along with regular feedback on performance to refine their skills.
Taking feedback from teachers in decision-making
Feedback is effective only when there is someone to implement it. Therefore, there can be a representative teacher, to be present in all board meetings of the school for taking the feedback from all teachers regarding the curriculum decisions, any changes which have to be brought in, or the upcoming plans.
It is crucial to improve the quality of opportunities offered to teachers. Rather than providing teachers with expensive external courses, customized ways of tailoring the professional learning opportunities for individual staff, based on feedback, can prove to be quite beneficial.
Make teaching a collaborative experience rather than isolating one
Students' performance increases when the teachers are involved in professional learning communities, and they are given a chance to take ownership of improving the whole school. These value the teachers for their contribution and make them feel empowered, respected, and motivated. Thus, they are satisfied in their job roles, resulting in their retention.
Ensure a better work-life balance for the teachers
Teachers often have a demanding work environment, making it challenging for them to manage their personal lives. Schools can offer them one or two late-start mornings or early-dismissal in the afternoon to address this concern. The pending duties, in this case, can be distributed among the remaining staff. Such simple steps can leave them with more time for their families, ensuring a better work-life balance.
Since teachers already spend many hours standing and teaching the classes, their "off-time" must be strictly protected. So they must never be asked to do anything during this period, even any important meetings, to relax and rejuvenate to perform better.
Addressing the shift to virtual learning
The outbreak of pandemics has resulted in a shift from physical classrooms to virtual learning. This is a challenge for the teachers who are not very tech-savvy. Hence, this requires teachers to train to make them competent enough to use the latest technologies like software and tools for online classes. It is important to choose a platform that is simple and easy to use.
Even with the start of regular classes, teachers must know how to work in the current situation, such as teaching and learning with PPE, collaborating with students by adhering to no-contact rules for safety, and maintaining social distancing in seating arrangements in the classroom.
Make new teachers feel welcomed
Considering the efforts put by teachers in the classroom and the role they play in helping a student build his career, teachers should be paid well. They can get performance-based hikes to motivate them to keep up their good work, and they don't look for alternative jobs that offer better pay packages. They can also be promoted to higher-level positions.
Leaders must make the new teachers feel welcomed and prepared to look forward to giving their best and continuing with the organization for a longer period. Outlining the expectations clearly and creating opportunities for mentorship and building relationships, besides collecting the data on new hires' transition, are certain things that must never be skipped.
There is no single formula to ensure teacher retention, but multiple small steps, as explained above, can create a comfortable and refreshing environment for the teachers where they feel motivated to teach the students and help them flourish by offering the highest quality education. The indicators for teacher retention rate are unique for each organization as these are defined based on community requirements and strategic priorities. Besides this, having a clear vision and purpose for the teacher retention efforts, getting stakeholder feedback on current requirements and creating an ideal future state, and thoroughly auditing the employee engagement structures for understanding the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities can be major determining factors in measuring the success rate of teacher retention.