May 26, 2016

Retention (of Teachers)

I was part of a panel of interviewers today, as I have been for the past many years. We have a math department of fourteen teachers and every year we hire at least one new teacher. In fact, I just made a list, and we have hired at least two new teachers every year since I started. Six years in and there are only four teachers remaining in my department who were here when I started. It only took two years for me to be in the middle of the department in terms of seniority. But if you look at the reasons why people leave, they're retiring, getting married, having kids or getting a job closer to home. We certainly don't want to keep people from retiring or choosing how to raise their kids, but I know that if we had a better situation then people would be willing to make the longer commute and convince their spouse to move here rather than the other way around.

Our district has the lowest pay of all the surrounding districts. But despite crazy turnover we have an amazing department. Our contract is always expired or interim. But every teacher in my school loves their students. Our students bring with them a variety of challenges. But they are the most wonderful kids, appreciative of teachers who genuinely care for them. Our administration is stuck in meetings too often to sufficiently support teachers who need alternate options for students. But admin means well and have great ideas if not great implementation. The "but's" help, however it's not enough. Meaning well and having good intentions doesn't make up for challenges we face. What can we do to improve teacher retention?

Want to come work at my school next year and help me figure it out? Because we're hiring!

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