Retain Talented Teachers
Teachers are sick and tired of the stresses from the pandemic.
Existing teacher shortages were not helped by COVID challenges to the profession, posing a serious challenge to schools to maintain appropriate staffing levels in the future. Balancing in-person and remote instruction to facilitate student learning placed enormous stress on many teachers, leading too many to decide against returning to the classroom.
Teachers 55 and older are the largest group impacted, decreasing the availability of mentors and experience. Younger teachers tend to exit the profession in the first five years, and among Black and Hispanic teachers, the percentages of teachers saying they have accelerated their plans to leave teaching are even greater – 62% and 59%, respectively.
While statistics look grim, lower attrition than forecast for the past two years doesn’t completely match this dire picture. But the decade long teacher shortage dilemma still demands attention. The wellbeing of our educators, disruption to student learning, and the hard and soft costs of hiring new teachers more than substantiate the focus.
Let’s explore how improved places and technology can increase teacher retention rates.
Better Working Conditions
A recent study revealed that the ways teachers perceived their schools’ working conditions and environments “were the most significant predictors of beginning teacher’s morale, career choice commitment and plans to stay in teaching.” Fortunately, improving your school’s work environment doesn’t always require costly repairs or renovations.
What makes you feel cared for?
Sometimes it’s having a place to call your own, one where you choose when and how you use it. Providing teacher’s lounges, spaces for respite and areas designed to support professional development are three suggestions. Spaces that encourage collaboration, places to meet with a mentor, and quiet spots for private downtime all contribute to increased wellbeing and personal development. And outdoor gardens can multitask as spaces for quiet reflection and access to the benefits of nature, and outdoor classrooms supporting teachers and students.
And sometimes it’s access to the right technology and the training on how to use it. Helps make you feel more connected through improved access to information, enhances your communications and delivers tools to support your work, like on-line teaching and learning.
Places To Create Community
Providing teachers with support and empowering them to succeed are strategies delivered by strong communities. Building a stronger sense of community can also be supported by the built environment. The ONEder Grant team from Artik Art + Architecture delivered research and insights on Building Community in Learning Environments; Evidence Based Interventions in Built Space. This research studied the relationship between different types of architectural design and operational interventions, their ability to foster healthy community and influence factors of occupant well-being in educational environments. Administrators, principals, school districts and project teams can access the Building Community Thru Design website to learn more.
In December 2021, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona sent out a letter to clarify that ESSER funds authorized by the ARP Act may be used to support hiring and retaining qualified and effective educators.
Workplaces for Teachers Solutions
We offer a wide variety of solutions to support teachers: