A few weeks ago, on our blog, we discussed a pressing concern for so many schools and districts across the country: teacher shortages. Especially for districts in low-income rural or urban areas, hiring quality teachers and keeping them has become increasingly difficult. As a teacher evaluation software company, we’ve seen firsthand some of the trends that can negatively affect teacher retention. According to the Huffington Post, teacher shortages can lead to diminished course offerings, expanding class sizes, a high turnover rate of substitute teachers, and teachers being assigned to classes outside of their expertise. Here are some tips for avoiding teacher shortages altogether!
- Keep your recruitment techniques targeted and specific to avoid opening up the pool to unqualified candidates.
Many school districts have tried to resolve teacher shortages by simply casting a broader net. However, the National Association of State Boards of Education argues that just expanding hiring to more people is not an effective strategy for solving teacher shortages. Reaching out to more candidates lowers the average quality of the teachers, resulting in hires who are less prepared and more likely to leave the profession after a short time.
- Place your instructional emphasis beyond test scores alone.
Teacher shortages are not necessarily new, but many of the reasons for teacher shortages have changed within the past decade. For example, teacher shortages are more likely in states or in school districts that require strict teaching-to-test practices or place all their evaluative emphasis for teachers on students’ test scores.
The Washington Post reports that teachers are leaving the state of Arizona in droves because the standardized testing requirements have left teachers with little to no room for flexibility or creativity in their teaching approach. We completely understand that many of the standardized requirements are coming from the state and federal level, and are largely out of your control as a K-12 administrator. Listen to and collaborate with your teachers and curriculum directors to find solutions to promoting standardized test knowledge in ways that give teachers the freedom they need to offer a quality learning experience.
- Give teachers pointed feedback, going beyond a simple scoresheet to truly identify areas with opportunities for improvement.
Teachers need real, honest feedback in order to improve. Research indicates that retaining the teachers you already have is a more effective solution to teacher shortages than hiring a surplus of new teachers. Teacher evaluations don’t always lead to improved performance if they’re not connected to concrete, actionable feedback, and evaluation checklists were not designed to reflect quality practices.
We know that the teacher evaluation process is involved enough as it is. Issues like inexperienced observers or disconnected evaluations often arise simply from a lack of bandwidth. Automated teacher evaluation software can streamline your process and resolve so many of these problems by increasing transparency and simplicity throughout your evaluation process. Our playbook will walk you through exactly how you can automate this process!
Supporting and empowering your teachers to be the best that they can be is an ongoing effort. We want to be your ally in this process. Here are three past blog posts that are all about training and retaining high-quality teachers: