While burnout is an all-too-common phenomenon for employees in many professional industries, it tends to hit education particularly hard and is among administrators’ biggest teacher retention problems annually. A 2022 RAND Corporation survey found teachers are twice as likely to experience job-related stress and feelings of burnout than other working adults. Although, according to an EdWeek Research Center and Merrimack College report, morale among teachers is rising, some states are experiencing record rates of teachers quitting. Keeping qualified talent in their classrooms is a top priority for many schools, and increasing teacher pay is not always an option. Let’s consider five non-compensation-based teacher retention strategies.
- Recognition & Appreciation – One of the simplest ways principals can combat teacher attrition rates and empower teachers is to recognize their efforts. Teaching can be a thankless job, leaving teachers feeling underappreciated. In Gallup research, only 29% of teachers agreed with the statement, “In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.”
Publicly recognizing teachers and celebrating their achievements helps them feel valued and appreciated and boosts morale and motivation. While an annual “Teacher Appreciation Week” is better than nothing, more frequent recognition can lead to teachers being more productive, engaged, and likely to stay at their school.
- Peer Coaching & Mentorship – Mentoring can be an impactful tool for retaining teachers, especially those newer to the profession. Many studies and reviews of research have examined the impact a mentor program can have on teachers. Schools using mentoring and coaching programs see they strongly affect novice teachers, primarily in areas including teacher retention.
The relationships formed helped teachers feel supported and connected to their larger school community. Teachers gain valuable confidence and become more likely to remain in their chosen profession when they feel supported by peers and work closely with them.
- Work-Life Balance Support – Teachers often take work home with them daily, grading papers, planning the following day’s lessons, or responding to parent communications, never truly giving themselves a chance to relax and enjoy time out of the classroom.
The number one item on almost every teacher’s wish list is more time. Let your teachers make the most of theirs by limiting excessive work or administrative burdens assigned to them outside the classroom. An excessive workload was cited by 70% of teachers and education staff as the main reason for thinking about leaving their job in Education Support’s 2021 Teacher Well-Being Index.
Promote a healthy work-life balance by providing planning resources and helpful initiatives to ease anxiety and reduce teachers’ stress. Encourage flexible scheduling when possible, implement inclusive, family-friendly policies for teachers who are also parents, and ensure teachers have easy access to support services such as counseling or healthy wellness programs. Facilitate the creation of peer support groups and, as a school leader, maintain open and transparent communication about the importance of a positive work-life balance. Promoting a healthy work-life balance for your teachers is crucial for ensuring their long-term well-being and retention within the profession.
- Collaborative Decision-Making – Involve teachers in important school decisions and policy-making directly affecting them. Encouraging collaborative decision-making and giving teachers a voice in shaping the direction of their school community’s culture fosters a greater sense of ownership and empowerment among the faculty.
Leveraging your teachers’ experience and unique insight can lead to more informed and practical decisions. By recognizing their expertise and professional judgment, you’ll accomplish better problem-solving, leading to more comprehensive and effective solutions, and your teachers will feel valued and respected.
When teachers feel heard and valued, it enhances their connection to the sense of community within the school. Collaborative decision-making fosters positive relationships across school staff, creating a supportive and cohesive school culture. As teachers feel empowered with a say in the school’s direction, they are more likely to develop meaningful connections and stay at their school long-term.
- Innovative Professional Development Opportunities – Provide ongoing professional development programs and opportunities that allow your teachers to enhance their skills and knowledge. Access to autonomous options that don’t monopolize teachers’ time with irrelevant information or “one-size-fits-all” PD can help teachers feel supported and equipped with personal and professional growth tools.
Proactive administrators are supplementing traditional “sit-and-get” professional development workshops with convenient, on-demand online solutions. When teachers have access to professional development resources at any time they choose, they form a more positive attitude toward PD and receive the strategies they need for long-term success in the classroom.
Avanti’s growing resource library contains hundreds of brief, on-demand videos with accompanying implementation guides and other downloadable resources to enhance teachers’ experience. With content covering relevant teaching topics such as classroom management, student engagement, building relationships, learning goals, and more, there’s something for every teacher at any grade or experience level.
Reduce teacher turnover and improve student outcomes through strategic PD on topics teachers choose and from experienced educators that teachers trust. Prevent burnout and retain your teachers by giving them the tools they need to grow and succeed. Reach out to the Avanti team today to learn more and schedule an informative platform demonstration.