Teacher retention is a massive issue that costs schools thousands of dollars and pushes valuable educators into alternative careers.
According to the National Education Association, over 40 percent of teachers leave the field within their first five years. Teacher retention issues can result from job dissatisfaction, which may stem from poor administrative support, negative working conditions, salary issues, and feeling unable to make a tangible impact. Teachers choose to leave the field for a number of other reasons as well that can vary based on the environment and circumstances.
So what can be done to prevent this mass exodus of teachers?
Teacher to Teacher
Bearing some of those common teacher retention issues in mind, there are a few ways educators can help each other get through the rough times and stay in the profession. Some activities that may help improve teacher retention rates include orientation and mentoring from veteran educators. Through a strong mentorship program, new teachers can feel a sense of community and learn new teaching and coping strategies. Regular sessions with other new teachers have also been shown to make an impact. Even taking small steps to make new educators feel welcome where possible can go a long way toward improving their outlook on the profession.
The Administrative End
There are also a few ways that administrators can have a positive impact on teacher retention in their school districts. Teachers who feel overworked are more likely to leave the field in search of a new line of work. Find ways to foster and prioritize a healthy work-life balance. Administrators can help by taking an interest in teachers’ well-being and doing what they can to ensure that work is distributed evenly whenever possible. Administrators can also work hard to create a warm and supportive school community atmosphere that can combat some of the causes of teacher flight.
Research shows that induction programs are effective in improving new teacher retention rates and can also make a significant difference in the way teaching careers grow and the learning experiences their students have over time. One analysis in the American Educational Research Journal found that new teachers who receive no induction are twice as likely to leave in their first year of teaching. The good news for schools is that it’s much more cost effective to provide teacher induction programs that reduce teacher attrition than to fund recruitment and hiring initiatives to replace departing teachers.
Everyone goes through career rough patches. Read on for more tips on how to avoid teacher burnout.