Digging into Dissatisfaction: How Coaching Helps Improve Teacher Retention

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One of the biggest challenges facing schools today is teacher retention. Teacher turnover is the result of much more than just retirement. In fact, recent studies show that of the more than 250,000 teachers who leave schools each year, most do so for reasons other than retirement. From looking for a position with more benefits to searching for more supportive teaching and learning environments, about 40% of all teachers leave the profession within their first five years.

This leaves schools with a hiring crisis that is even greater among lower-performing schools in underserved communities, where quality teachers are greatly needed. The result is that many schools are left with underqualified teachers, or they must rely on substitutes to try to make up the gap.

Why Are Teachers Leaving?

Teacher turnover has become such a pervasive problem in school districts across the country that research groups have begun studying why teachers are leaving. According to a recent study, 90% of open teaching positions are created by teachers who leave the profession (as opposed to retiring), and 55% of teachers cite dissatisfaction as the reason for their departure. One of the main problems that teachers cite is a lack of administrative support. When teachers feel like they are not receiving support, encouragement, or recognition from their administration, for many, their school no longer feels like a place where they can grow their careers.

Over 20% of teachers said that lack of support from their school administrators was their reason for leaving. The same number of teachers simply were dissatisfied with their careers as teachers in general. But it’s not fair to blame this on the profession itself. Though teaching is one of the most difficult jobs, most teachers cited lack of advancement opportunities and lack of personal input in their schools as their reason for leaving. In a sense, these two problems still stems from poor administrative support. The best method to combat these growing problems is by building a stronger relationship between teachers and school administrators, and by aligning their goals and objectives. One high leverage way to keep everyone on the same page is through teacher coaching.

How Does Teacher Coaching Work?

The idea behind teacher coaching is to have professional instructional coaches work with teachers, helping them to better manage classroom behavior, make instructional time more productive, and line up classroom instruction with their school district’s overall curriculum goals. After coaches help teachers identify areas of growth in their planning and instructional delivery, coaches provide individualized, ongoing support and feedback to help teachers continue to grow and improve throughout the school year. Such feedback conversations can take the form of a high-leverage action step assignment, content-specific coaching, or can take place through problems of practice in inquiry cycles.

How Does Teacher Coaching Improve Retention?

The current reality is that half of the teachers in the top 20% of effectiveness leave within five years, and these excellent educators are nearly impossible to replace. Keeping these teachers should be a top priority for schools. What’s more, teachers with 10 or fewer years of experience now make up 45% of teachers. Research on the attitudes of these teachers indicates that they want to grow as educators throughout the course of their career, but these needs aren’t being met by the current educational system. With so much going wrong in school systems’ efforts to retain quality teachers, schools should look to teacher coaching as an effective means to improve the current teacher retention crisis.

Teacher coaching improves retention in a number of ways. Coaching improves teachers’ abilities to manage all of the stresses that make teaching a difficult job. Teacher coaching can help teachers manage classroom behavior and increase instructional rigor, resulting in overall improved classroom outcomes. Despite its many benefits, teacher coaching is an underutilized tool in making teachers more confident and less stressed. These are the key aspects that make teachers want to leave their jobs, so coaching provides a direct solution for retaining (and nurturing) our schools’ teachers.

Whetstone - The Coaching Software Teachers Trust

Finding a way to effectively coach teachers and improve retention rates doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. Whetstone offers complete teacher observation and coaching software to monitor and refine teacher performance across all areas of classroom education.

Our software is inexpensive for schools and easy to implement for educators. Most of all, it provides a truly custom platform that can be fitted to your school district’s goals, even matching the unique terms your school or district  uses on a daily basis to talk about coaching.

You too can join the growing list of 950+ schools that have found success using our innovative educator coaching software. Contact Whetstone now to request a free demo and get your school started on the path toward happier teachers, improved instruction, and better learning today.