Teacher recruitment and retention are critical factors in the success of any educational institution. Teacher recruitment is defined as an effort to increase the numbers of qualified persons who would be willing to accept teaching positions, while teacher retention refers to the proportion of teachers in one year who are still teaching in the same school the following year. With a continued teacher shortage and a smaller pool of educators to select from each year, recruitment efforts are at an all time high and retention has never been more important.
In this blog post, we will explore some of the best practices that schools can adopt to ensure a robust and motivated teaching staff, creating an environment conducive to student achievement and overall school excellence. First, let’s explore teacher turnover and the impact it can have on your school.
Teacher turnover rates
According to a report released by RAND Education and Labor, teacher turnover increased 4 percentage points above pre-pandemic levels, reaching 10 percent nationally at the end of the 2021–2022 school year. Principal turnover increased too, reaching 16 percent nationally going into the 2022–2023 school year. Diving deeper, the report found that teacher turnover in 2021–2022 was highest (around 12 to 14 percent) in urban districts, high poverty districts, and districts serving predominantly students of color. Meanwhile, principal turnover was highest (around 21 to 23 percent) in high-poverty districts and in rural districts.
How does teacher turnover impact students?
It will be no surprise to educators that teacher turnover negatively impacts student achievement and averages. A study completed by researchers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Florida showed that losing a teacher during the school year is linked with a loss of between 32 and 72 instructional days. That’s anywhere from one-sixth to close to half of the entire school year. A study conducted by CALDER collected data on 1.1 million New York elementary school students over a decade and found that students in grade-levels with higher turnover scored lower in both ELA and math. Additionally, the report said that eliminating teacher turnover entirely increased student achievement in math by 2 percent to 4 percent of a standard deviation.
6 best practices for teacher recruitment and retention
1. Establish a positive school culture
A positive and supportive school culture plays a pivotal role in attracting and retaining high-quality teachers. Foster a collaborative and inclusive environment where teachers feel valued, respected and supported. Encourage open communication, provide opportunities for professional growth and celebrate achievements. By prioritizing the well-being and professional development of teachers, schools can cultivate a sense of belonging and commitment, which in turn leads to higher job satisfaction and retention.
2. Streamline recruitment processes
Efficient and targeted recruitment processes are essential for attracting top-tier teaching talent. Start by clearly defining the qualifications and characteristics desired in prospective candidates. Develop comprehensive job descriptions and leverage various recruitment platforms such as online job boards, professional networks and social media. Collaborate with teacher education programs and attend job fairs to engage with potential candidates. Streamline the application and interview process to ensure a positive and efficient experience for candidates, reflecting the professionalism and dedication of the school.
3. Emphasize competitive compensation and benefits
Competitive compensation and benefits packages are critical in attracting and retaining highly qualified teachers. Conduct regular salary benchmarking to ensure that compensation aligns with industry standards and takes into account factors such as experience and qualifications. Additionally, offer comprehensive benefits packages that include health insurance, retirement plans, professional development opportunities, and work-life balance initiatives. Recognize and reward outstanding teachers through performance-based incentives to motivate and retain top talent.
4. Invest in professional development
Teachers seek continuous growth and development opportunities to enhance their teaching skills and stay abreast of current educational trends. Establish a culture of lifelong learning by providing ongoing professional development programs and resources. Offer workshops, seminars, conferences and mentoring programs that cater to the diverse needs and interests of teachers. Encourage participation in external training programs and support advanced degrees or certifications. By investing in professional development, schools demonstrate their commitment to the growth and success of their teachers.
5. Build supportive mentorship programs
Mentorship programs provide invaluable support to new and experienced teachers alike. Pair new teachers with experienced mentors who can provide guidance, advice and support during the initial years of their teaching careers. Implement a structured mentorship program that includes regular check-ins, observation and feedback sessions, and opportunities for collaboration. Foster a sense of camaraderie and community among teachers, creating an environment where knowledge-sharing and support are valued.
6. Prioritize work-life balance
Recognize the importance of work-life balance in preventing burnout and improving teacher retention. Encourage and support teachers in maintaining a healthy balance between their personal and professional lives. Provide flexible scheduling options when possible, offer wellness programs and promote self-care initiatives. By acknowledging and respecting teachers’ well-being, schools create an environment that promotes longevity and dedication.
Teacher recruitment and retention are ongoing challenges for schools, but by implementing these best practices, educational institutions can create an environment that attracts and retains exceptional teaching talent. Remember – when teachers thrive, students thrive, and the entire educational community benefits from their expertise, commitment and passion.
ParentSquare is here to help you in all of your teacher recruitment and retention initiatives. Learn more about these features and many more by booking a demo today!