44%+ teachers leave education within their first five years (Council of Exceptional Children [CEC], 2021). What can you do to make them want to stay?
Here are 5 easy tips on how to support and retain your new teachers this school year.
Tip 1: Welcome the innovation your new teachers bring.
Yes, they’re new, and yes, they need training. But embrace the enthusiasm, perspective, and innovation they offer. Involve your new teachers in planning and decision-making. Their lack of experience may inspire solutions that more experienced teachers can’t see.
The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible, and achieve it, generation after generation.—Pearl Buck
→ Brainstorm ways to welcome teachers. We provide more specific suggestions in the PDF version of this blog article. Click the “Download the PDF to Share” button at the bottom.
Tip 2: Assign the new teacher a mentor for the whole school year and do it during the first week.
Retain teachers (and increase student achievement) by assigning an experienced teacher as their mentor. Create a structure that is simple and time-efficient. For example, use a scavenger hunt to tour the school and end it with a picnic. Or have experienced teachers model their classroom management strategies in short clips.
Sometimes the greatest PD is the teacher down the hall. —Brian Aspinall
Tip 3: Provide teachers with effective technology that frees them up for what they do best — teach!
Find digital programs that will support your new teachers. For example, Let’s Go Learn’s (LGL’s) diagnostics, formative assessments, and progress monitoring simplify writing IEPs and ensuring student progress.
Online programs such as LGL’s allow teachers to focus on their students. The interactive reading and math instruction uses music, voice intonation, animations, and more to help students fill their learning gaps quickly and efficiently.
Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important. —Bill Gates
→ Assign a team of teachers (so you can cover all the lunch periods) to introduce a productivity app they can use to simplify their lives.
Tip 4: Recognize teacher contributions regularly and be sure to include your new teachers.
Give your new teachers positive feedback for the large and small strides they make. If they learn a new program, put a certificate on a bulletin board in the teachers’ lounge. Start a Teacher Impact Day and highlight teacher actions that have impacted students in positive ways. You could even put a “Caught Ya” box in the hall for student and teacher suggestions.
Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: ‘I’m with you kid. Let’s go’. —Maya Angelou
→Find fun and effective ways to recognize your teachers! Click “Download the PDF to Share” below for specific suggestions.
Tip 5: Sustain the dedication and love for teaching that your new teachers bring.
When Laurie VanderPloeg, Executive Director for Professional Affairs at CED, discusses being an educator, she says, “Teaching is not just a job, but it is who I am.”
It is that personal passion that drives a love of teaching. Let your new teachers know that you understand this. When you come into their classrooms to observe, do it not as an outsider but as a colleague there to help.
I touch the future. I teach. —Christa McAuliffe
→Reflect on how to give teachers feedback that will positively affect student learning.
Download a PDF version of this article with more tips and links!
Margy Hillman is an experienced educator and writer who develops learning experiences and products that engage the brain and trigger creative and critical thinking. As part of the Let’s Go Learn team, she studies the education environment and learning research, trends, and strategies, documenting the role of Let’s Go Learn products in transforming learning loss into learning gain. She has a BA in English and an MA in American Studies and K-12 and adult teaching credentials. In addition to her work with K-12 teachers and learners, she is an adjunct professor at National University in Strategic Communications.