Using A Coaching Platform to Retain Alternatively Certified Teachers

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Alternatively certified teachers make up a quarter of new teachers entering the classroom, but recent studies have shown that their attrition rate is 8 percentage points higher than that of their traditionally certified peers.


According to a study published by the American Educational Research Journal, the increased difficulty of retaining alternatively certified teachers has two causes. Many alternatively certified teachers do not receive sufficient preparation before entering the workforce, and also lack proper support in the workplace. Most of these teachers, the study found, did not have student teaching experience and were not adequately versed in classroom management strategies.


Alternatively certified teachers who left the field said they did so because they felt “underprepared and overwhelmed.” However, the study found that those who received additional support from the school in the way of professional development were less likely to leave.


Providing The Motivation Teachers Need

Motivation is integral to teacher retention. So how can you motivate alternatively certified teachers who may feel unprepared and overwhelmed?


In addition to boosting teacher confidence and competence, teacher coaching also provides teachers with a clear sense of progress. According to Daniel Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, research shows that “making progress is the greatest motivator at work.”


Pink found that to boost workplace motivation, it’s crucial to “help people recognize their progress, shine a light on that progress, recognize it in front of other people, celebrate that progress, help people stay on a path toward making progress.”


Teacher coaching focuses on achieving progress through process. Weekly or monthly classroom observations and feedback meetings throughout the year give teachers a means to progress incrementally. As teachers reflect on their growth over the school year, intrinsic motivation grows.


On the other hand, the traditional model of infrequent, compliance-driven evaluations rely on an if-then motivation model. Behavioral science shows that this carrot-and-stick approach decreases motivation when applied to complex, conceptual problem solving and creative tasks.


Communicating Progress

A coaching program that helps retain alternatively certified teachers will be able to clearly communicate teacher progress.


To do so, the program must employ tools that can effectively track, measure, evaluate, and demonstrate progress. Ideally, each of these tools will work together to optimize the coaching process. To assist alternatively certified teachers, look specifically for a customizable platform that can be tailored to address your school’s unique needs and coaching methods. A customizable software platform will streamline and improve communication with alternatively certified teachers, who may have a different pedagogical vocabulary than traditionally certified teachers. For best results, choose a platform that can be personalized in order to accommodate the different types of teachers in your school.


Additionally, customizable software should have dynamic data analytics that will benefit your school in the short- and long-term, and give you the ability to see exactly which teachers need help and where. These programs are useful because they can be constantly refined in order to support the increasing complexity of your school’s reporting needs throughout the year.



Important Features of Effective Coaching Software

To highlight progress for alternative teachers, prioritize a platform that pools qualitative and quantitative data. A number isn’t enough to encapsulate the complexity of teacher performance. These two types of information must be considered in tandem in order to identify trends that will build a robust picture of teacher growth. Systems that make this information easy to analyze, share, and use in decision-making will help build the confidence of alternatively certified teachers.


An effective growth management platform integrates coaching into everyday life via a steady, consistent stream of feedback. Look for programs that offer the option to capture in-the-moment observations on your laptop or mobile device. To streamline the feedback process, select for video observation software that also offers time-stamped feedback, so that teachers can zero in on what’s working and what’s not.


Helpful software will also log and organize all coaching interactions over the course of the school year in order to provide teachers with transparent and interesting insights into the process of their professional growth. Transparency is key to fostering a teacher’s investment in your school family. The right platform provides a mechanism to both assign and celebrate small victories. The more invested your teachers are, the less likely they are to leave your school.


The right software will also offer goal and action step trend reports to track and analyze what kind of action steps are being assigned, and to whom they’re being assigned. These features allow leaders to personalize professional development by addressing the particular needs of teachers in different phases of their professional growth. Additionally, these tools help teachers see the incremental progress they’re making throughout the year, building confidence and intrinsic motivation.


Finally, your software should provide access to resources that will further your teacher coaching goals. Supporting videos and literature to assist both teachers and coaches in their journey.


Whetstone Can Help

Whetstone offers solutions to all of these questions. To sample our highly effective approach to coaching and observation, request a demo today. See you in class!