As a school administrator or principal, how much time do you spend on teacher retention? How do you know if you are spending enough energy and resources to keeping the best and most effective faculty? If the numbers are any indication teacher turn over is at an all time high across the board, and especially high in challenging areas. Here are a few tips to lower your faculty attrition rates and keep quality teachers for the long haul.
Assess the Risk
Your first-year teachers are your highest risk in many ways, usually because they are about to learn the hard way that the dream and reality of teaching are not one in the same. In some cases, there will be precious little administration can do to curb the disillusionment, but that doesn’t mean you should not try. Consider:
- Putting your new teachers with easier grade levels until they get their feet wet.
- Pay attention to whether a new teacher is clicking with their students, even if it is an easy class, not all personalities are set to work with second graders.
- Offer support on a regular basis, check in with your new teachers, pair them with longer term staff and make sure they know your door is always open.
Signs of Burnout
Your second high-risk group are teachers approaching burnout. These are talented faculty members who have just put all they had into the process for a long period of time and are at the end of their proverbial rope. A few signs to be aware of:
- Constant complaining is likely the easiest burnout sign to spot. These teachers will rarely have a nice thing to say about parents, students, staff or school in general.
- Missing from society, these teachers will notably be missing from regular social gatherings, skipping meetings and basically cut themselves off from the rest of the school world.
- Lackluster performance, attitude, and demeanor. These teachers want to care, but they just cannot seem to muster the enthusiasm.
If you want to address the attrition rates among your staff you must be diligent to watch for the warning signs and then be prepared to act. Reach out to your new teachers and those missing from major functions, look for opportunities to improve the work environment and find ways to show them there is still worth in what they are doing.
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