How To Retain Great Teachers: Start With Leadership Opportunities
Great teachers are an invaluable asset to any school. Principals should go to great lengths to retain these teachers. But what steps can administration reasonably take and how will this be received by teachers?
What does the teacher want?
The first step should definitely be to have a conversation with that great teacher. Make the time to sit with him or her and discuss their goals with regards to their educational career. It is essential to realize that not all teachers have an end goal of becoming the school principal. So it makes sense to consider this when approaching a great teacher. Once your teachers tell you where they see themselves someday, you can begin to tailor some job growth opportunities for them.
Start with the grade level
If you have a teacher who is really looking to stay in the classroom for the duration of their professional career, that’s perfectly fine. The teacher has an obvious love and hopefully a talent for the grade level or subject they teach. This teacher is the perfect candidate to lead the grade level or subject department.
Perhaps you can assign this teacher to be the head of the grade. This will be a perfect opportunity for him or her to work with other grade level teachers. It is an opportunity to mentor new teachers. And your teacher will thrive and be enthusiastic about seeking out other professional development opportunities. Be sure to schedule time regularly to talk to them about new ideas and figure out ways to implement them.
Be a mentor
If your teacher has aspirations of being a principal someday, you need to foster that goal. Make time and opportunities to mentor that teacher. Be available to discuss policy and education trends. Let the teacher give you their thoughts and opinions. It is also a good idea to allow this teacher to experience professional development days that are for principals and administrative staff.
Recognize and encourage initiative
Here is an ideal opportunity to encourage teachers to expand. Let your teachers have some freedom and encourage them to develop their own professional development programs. This is an excellent chance to listen to what they have to say and see if you can offer constructive guidance.
For teachers not interested in an administrative path, encourage them to take part in or develop a peer-based program at school. This gives the teacher a chance to take a leadership role within the grade level. A perfect opportunity to take on a leadership role.
Create a welcoming environment for all
Let your teachers know that you value them and their thoughts and opinions. This gives teachers the freedom and opportunity to share thoughts and ideas without fear of not being taken seriously. A supportive community is essential for encouraging teachers to explore their professional goals.
Along the same line, support your teachers. Teaching often involves walking a fine line when dealing with parents. Teachers need to know that their principal supports them and will stand by them. You can accomplish this by treating your teachers as professionals with the courtesy they deserve.
A respected and well-treated teacher is a happy teacher.