Question 5)What is your opinion on the concerns of teacher retention? What ideas would you bring tothe table to address this crisis?
Okay, I am answering the least controversial question first! I would actually like to win this race,
Kilroy, but you have thrown me into the lion’s den. Nonetheless, you do deserve honest answers,
so here I go.Teacher retention and stability are highly correlated with student success and achievement on both domestic and international levels. Furthermore, research suggests that student
of school climate is highly correlated with student success. This means that kids need to see thesame people day in and day out, in order to build relationships of trust and longevity, andstudents also need to feel important and valuable, as do their parents. The mere perception of trust leads to heightened academic progress. This is important. Therefore, creating long-termeducator, administrative and staff stability along with a school culture which accepts andcelebrates our children
from every background
is of paramount importance.This means that not only does the school need to be stable, but that the people who work in theschool
everyone from the administrators to the custodians, from the secretaries to theeducators, to the men and women who work in the cafeteria to the bus drivers
should befamiliar with and comfortable meeting students where they are, and not judging them. This oftenrequires at least a modicum of professional training and development.Therefore it is imperative to focus on enhanced and more meaningful professional developmentfor educators. In discussing professional development with teachers, it's clear that they cravevaluable training, but I'm not sure the training opportunities we provide staff now aredifferentiated enough to meet the needs of their students. This needs to be addressed andchanged.
Embedded in Kilroy’s query regarding teacher retention is a more
profound and perplexingquestion, one which signifies that teacher retention is not merely or even really about JUSTeducator retention, but is rather about the difficulties many experience when they are placed invery challenging work environments. Because the truth of the matter is, at the end of the day, wedo not have issues retaining teachers in work environments where we feel safe, have pleasantworking conditions, where students come from families which are abundant in resources andsupport, and where teaching is less worrisome because students enter the classroom preparedwell beyond their grade levels.
Let’s talk about the real issue. We have trouble retaining teachers who work in difficult
environments. We have trouble retaining teachers in high poverty schools. We have troubleretaining teachers in areas in which they feel physically uncomfortable. We have troubleretaining teachers who are not treated well by the administration. We have trouble retainingteachers when they have no voice.