By Crissandra Ayroso
Teaching is a tough job, especially when it comes to managing students and balancing the demands of teaching and home life.
Last year, in the early months of 2022, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reported 734,000 total separations, 64% of which accounted for resignations. In some districts, almost 25% of teacher turnover comes from teachers quitting their jobs mid-year.
The impact of the last few years of pandemic-fueled stress, ongoing overwork, and stagnant wages further contribute to the school teacher shortage and rate of resignations for US educators and school workers. Not just from their teaching jobs but from the teaching profession altogether.
Regardless of when teacher resignations take place, as long as teachers are in a position to choose to continue to teach, here are a few ways to support our teachers.
- Flexible work hours. Teachers need flexibility in their schedules, as well as with school policies and procedures, so they don't feel like they are being held back from doing what's best for the students.
- Training opportunities. Teachers should be given time and support to learn new skills or improve on existing ones--like how to manage difficult students and classroom management techniques that work best for them (and their students).
- Support system during school hours. Some teachers need a supportive school system to be able to look after their mental health, well-being, and other personal health concerns or otherwise during school hours; it may also be beneficial if there was someone at school who could provide counseling during stressful situations where a teacher might feel overwhelmed by all that is going on around them. Teacher burnout is a major cause for teachers ready to quit teaching mid-year.
- Support system for new teachers. The first few years of teaching are the most difficult which is why we see the highest amount of turnover during this time. New teachers make up the greatest number of teachers that resign.
- Investing in professional development is one way to keep teachers engaged and motivated. Districts should provide teachers with the resources and training they need to stay up-to-date on best practices. This could include offering teacher career coach services, workshops, seminars, and other professional development opportunities.
- Creating supportive work environments is also essential. Districts should make sure that teachers feel supported and valued by their school leaders and co-workers. This could include providing resources such as mentoring programs and feedback systems.
- Offering financial incentives is another way to keep teachers motivated throughout the whole school year. Districts should consider offering bonuses or other forms of compensation for teachers who stay in their positions.
- Developing mentoring programs is also important. Districts should provide teachers with mentors who can help them navigate their new roles and provide guidance and support.
- Finally, districts should utilize technology for professional growth. This could include providing teachers with access to online courses, webinars, and other resources.
In the end, teachers are the most important part of our schools. They're the ones who spend their days with students and have the greatest impact on their lives. We want all teachers to feel supported by their school districts from day one to the middle of the school year, end of the school year, and beyond!