Combating the Teacher Shortage: What it Takes to Retain and Grow Your Faculty

February 06, 2024

Julie Luby

Ed.D. in Leadership

Teachers are leaving the profession at unprecedented rates and support staff positions are going unfilled. Because of this, it’s critically important for hiring authorities, whether a human resources team or administrators and district leaders, to create work environments that make faculty want to stay.

There are many reasons why employees leave and indicators of why they stay. Compensation isn’t always the reason. Leadership, lack of vision and feelings of isolation can lead an individual to move on. Awareness and intentionality can create a vision-focused, positive work environment that can be the difference between losing good people and growing an outstanding staff.

First, employees want to be a part of a vision-driven culture, know why they come to work and understand that they are working towards a shared purpose and goal. Good leaders understand this and make sure that their schools or districts are driven by a unifying vision and a strategy to achieve it. Exemplary employees won’t leave when they feel excited to be working with a team to make something important become a reality.

Second, employees and, actually, people in general crave connectedness. Help your employees feel like part of a team. Do that by promoting wellness. Use an employee newsletter to share good news, core values and positivity. Be present and visible in your classrooms; employees crave frequent feedback. Employees who receive more feedback are less likely to leave than those who receive limited feedback because they’ll be on a growing path set by leaders who believe in them.

Finally, run a professional organization. Do a thorough job with onboarding, making sure that new staff know how things work and what is valued. Follow that with frequent check-ins and create advancement pathways to keep staff engaged and growing. Provide recognition for initiative and success – it goes a long way! And, very importantly, do what you say that you’re going to do. Empty promises are so defeating; follow-through, on the other hand, is truly valued.

Working in education is hard but also rewarding. By emphasizing the positives and mitigating challenges, it’s possible to increase the likelihood that your team will choose to continue to show up for your students.

Employees who are engaged in meaningful work towards a shared vision, connected to their colleagues, and treated respectfully and professionally are much more likely to stick around, even when the going gets tough. When you create an environment that employees love, you won’t need to spend your time onboarding new folks because you’ll be investing in the ones you have. It will truly pay off!

American College of Education works with school and district leaders to create solutions for recruiting, retaining and developing quality educators. Learn more how we could work with you.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of American College of Education.
Julie Luby
Julie Luby, Ed.D. in Leadership

Julie is an assistant superintendent of schools in a public preK-12 school district in Connecticut. She has been an educator for more than 30 years, having taught a wide range of subjects across almost all of the grades and been a building principal at the elementary, intermediate and high school levels. She recently earned her Ed.D. in Leadership from ACE. Julie's research and experience have cultivated her passionate belief in district coherence around a shared vision that is celebrated and enacted through skilled instructional leadership. She provides coaching to principals and district leaders, and leads coherence work for districts seeking to enhance performance. Julie lives in Newtown, Connecticut with her three children and two dogs.

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