Giving Compass’ Take:
• New research presents reasons why educators are leaving the profession but can also inform strategies on how to keep them from quitting during the pandemic.
• How can donors help school boards take essential action steps to address educator turnover? What are the implications for this incoming school year?
• Learn more about the importance of educators’ mental health.
Teacher turnover causes learning setbacks, with a bigger impact on high-poverty schools, researchers say. Replacing teachers is expensive, and vacancies are hard to fill.
The study in the Journal of Vocational Behavior looked at data from 3,201 teachers in grades K-12, revealing the factors most likely to influence a teachers’ decision to leave. While the study was completed before COVID-19, the motivations may intensify as teachers go back to school amid the pandemic, says author Brian Swider, a professor at the University of Florida.
Here, he explains four factors that may nudge a teacher to quit and what school systems can do about each of them:
- Duties other than teaching. “One of the strongest, most consistent predictors of teachers leaving the occupation is how many non-core job duties they had,” says Swider, a management researcher in the Warrington School of Business.
- Investment in teaching. Offer opportunities for teachers to boost their skills through certifications, professional development, or other resources can help keep instructors in place.
- Salary.Understand that using funding as a threat could backfire badly. “Threatening to take away resources from schools and K-12 teachers is the exact opposite of what I would recommend for the long-term health of the profession,” he says.
- Moonlighting. Moonlighting expanded teachers’ professional networks and skill sets, possibly revealing other career options. Since many teachers haven’t had face-to-face classes since March, “my guess is that more teachers have been moonlighting during COVID than normal,” Swider says.
Read the full article about keeping teachers from quitting by Alisson Clark at Futurity.
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