How To Get The Teachers We Want
When you break down the success or failure of any educational institution, be it in the edtech or traditional sectors, it all boils down to the cost/effect ratio of the institution’s teaching staff and whether or not those teachers are connecting with and reaching students in such a way which produces the desired results and interactions. Budgets play a massive role in securing and retaining top teaching talent, as an inability to pay a worthwhile wage will drive good teachers away to other institutions who are able or willing to pay them what they are truly worth on the market.
However, there are ways to find and retain good teachers on your ledger regardless of your institution’s financial situation. While teachers are always looking for a higher pay scale (like anyone would in any particular field, they’re also looking for greater overall rewards and a working environment which makes their time and effort investment worth it. Building an environment which rewards the teacher emotionally and professionally is just as important as being able to provide the right numbers on their paychecks.
You’re not just competing with other educational institutions
Talented people are talented people. Just because someone has a teaching certification doesn’t mean they’re married to teaching, especially if there is a related or peripheral field which can offer them better pay and overall quality of life. Per a recent study, the ability to staff and keep good teachers is very much dependent on how desirable the teaching profession itself is compared to other potential job opportunities on the overall market.
While you have major work to do convincing the right teachers to join your institutional ranks, you also have work to do convincing talented people to stay within the teaching profession itself and not ply their trade in other fields which could potential pay more or offer a set of overall rewards which outstrips their perception of the teaching field itself. Only the most focused and ethically aggressive hiring strategies are able to work on both sides of this fence, getting the best talent to work for them regardless of whatever other job opportunities lie out there.
So, how do you get the right people in such circumstances?
If you have sufficient financial backing, you’ve got to pay your teachers the right ethical wage for the work they’ll be doing. One of the key criticisms which arise among teachers either switching jobs or wavering over their commitment to the profession is overall dissatisfaction with salary. 55% of public school teachers in a recent study expressed overall displeasure with their wages. Those numbers vary based on the type of institution, but the fact remains that lower pay (or the perception of it) leads to a lack of top talent vying for these jobs and/or being available in the first place.
The other huge key is simply to listen to your teachers and teachers in similar institutions. Find Twitter chats and educational Facebook groups where these teachers go to vent about their current circumstances. Most are looking for support systems which listen to their concerns and help them hone their craft while carrying out the requirements of the job. Also, look into alternative teacher education programs to find talented teachers who may have been unwittingly marginalized and taken off your radar. The way to secure and keep the best teaching talent is to give them a job environment which compensates them fairly and addresses their concerns either before or as they arise. If you can do that, you’ll have a leg up in getting the right teachers for the right jobs.