Many school administrators have become all too familiar with education’s ongoing teacher shortage. Exacerbated largely by the COVID-19 pandemic, finding a district that has avoided the widespread difficulties related to teacher recruitment and retention is nearly impossible. Teaching is challenging, and it isn’t necessarily getting any easier. Burnout stems from a lack of support or respect, increased responsibilities, no time for planning and preparation, feeling alone, difficult parents, and more—not to mention the all-too-common complaint of insufficient financial compensation. Most current and past research, studies, and surveys focus on why teachers have continued to leave the profession. However, when creating a teacher retention strategy, understanding some of the key motivations and reasons why teachers might return to the classroom may be helpful.
The fact remains that despite everything driving teachers away, many continue to love the classroom and can’t help but answer their calling to teach. They’re the teachers that administrators dream of filling their buildings with, who are in it for the long haul and want to make a long-term positive impact on children’s lives. So, what’s keeping these teachers in the profession?
Indeed, some can be more challenging to reach and teach than others, but working with children is a rewarding experience in and of itself. Teachers stay because they develop a love for the students—their kids—who are the reason they entered the career in the first place. Investing in students transforms their lives for the better, and teachers can also learn a lot from students’ curious young minds. Even the most challenging teaching days are meaningful and impactful, and a constant devotion to their students is a powerful force that keeps teachers dedicated to the profession.
Appreciative, Supportive Leaders Who Listen
In the face of challenging circumstances—even ones in which, for whatever reason, effective changes can’t be made—having an administrator lend an ear and provide emotional support when needed most can make a world of difference for a teacher. Public recognition or sporadic signs of appreciation, such as a sweet treat, free lunch, or a gift card, can go a long way. Consideration and encouragement from administrators help create a school culture teachers want.
A Tight-Knit Community of Colleagues
Adult peer relationships and friendships among coworkers are important in any professional setting. Especially when surrounded by young students most of the day, relationships among fellow teachers in grade-level teams or professional learning communities can provide critical emotional and intellectual support. From helping with a tricky lesson plan to celebrating small victories or problem-solving and learning from one another, teachers can help make other teachers better and realize they aren’t alone. Teachers are more likely to feel empowered as they share ideas and form collaborative relationships with like-minded colleagues.
Striving for Mastery of Their Craft
The best teachers aren’t scared of a challenge and are always looking for more innovative ways to engage their students. Nobody is perfect or has everything figured out. For quality teachers, the idea that they may never truly master teaching doesn’t prevent them from continuously striving to improve. Personal, individualized opportunities for professional learning and growth as a teacher can help improve morale and confidence while adding to teachers’ toolkits of skills and techniques. Traditional “sit-and-get” professional development delivered in a “one-size-fits-all” approach isn’t likely to satisfy teachers searching for solutions they need to improve their craft.
Avanti supports teachers’ purposeful growth and development through on-demand video strategies on the subjects they choose most relevant to their classroom needs. The platform includes a supportive and collaborative community message board, and teachers can quickly receive strategies to help them make a difference in students’ lives. Help maximize teachers’ time, their impact on students, and the desire to stay at your school for long, impactful careers. Reach out today to learn more and get a personalized demo of the Avanti platform.