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How to Retain Your Most Promising Teachers

How to Retain Your Most Promising Teachers

The nation is experiencing a teacher shortage that is only expected to grow. Although district funding is rising, teacher raises tend to only cover the rate of inflation. Therefore, retaining promising educators is a paramount challenge for administrators that takes some outside-the-box thinking. Here are a few tips to help keep your best teachers on staff.

Host a mentoring mixer

You may believe that only rookie teachers need a mentor, but anyone who has information to share can have an effect on a colleague who wants to learn. A key component in teacher burnout is the feeling of stagnancy. But, pairing mentors and mentees can be complicated.

Early in the school year, host a “mentoring mixer.” Have the mentors identify themselves and tell what they have to share. For example, perhaps a member of staff is a leader in flipped learning. Then, let the educators mingle. Before leaving the room, they need to be able to identify a partner and communicate how they will be moving forward with their plans.

Schedule discussion time for ideas

Scheduling is usually dictated by contracts and district needs, so there may not be much flexibility in what the school-level leader can do. But, another cause of teacher burnout is the feeling of working in an assembly line at the whim of a bell.

Solicit ideas on how the school’s schedule can improve, then workshop them. For example, new teachers tend to appreciate an early planning period to prepare for the day and fewer preparation periods. If those ideals can be achieved, you are making life much easier for your newbie teachers. Also, veteran teachers may have other ideas. Your willingness just to listen is worth a lot.

Help with lesson planning

One of the most daunting tasks for teachers, along with grading, is lesson planning. It doesn’t help that strategies are under constant change, as are the formats the district expects. If this process can be streamlined, a weight will lift off the shoulders of a struggling teacher. 

Also, help your teachers by making lesson planning a focus during mentoring sessions. If there is an exciting new idea, there’s nothing wrong with devoting part of a faculty meeting for a demonstration. Teachers want to be creative, but the paperwork gets in the way.

Solicit ideas frequently

Teachers often feel as though they have little power in the operations of everything outside of their classroom door. When the goal is to build a school community, that cannot be the case.

Perhaps the best thing a school leader can do to increase morale and demonstrate collaboration is to solicit new ideas from anyone at any time. Surveys and forms can be distributed online instantly, but also make sure that everyone knows that they can share concerns and ideas in person as well. And, of course, if the ideas are at all feasible, investigate how they can be implemented and engage the teachers in constructing a plan.

Looking for more resources on how to keep your staff motivated and engaged? Check out these easy and cost-effective strategies to boost teacher morale!