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Teacher turnover is high, very high. Approximately 50 percent of the new teachers you’ve hired in the last five years will leave your school and/or the profession. Despite the many different reasons, one of the top reasons
for teachers quitting is lack of support and respect in the classroom. How can you combat these statistics at your school?
Since the month of January is Mentoring Month, we’d like to share with you five strategies you can implement now to support your teachers.
Connecting Teachers Together
Take stock of your current teachers. You should have a good idea of which teachers have a proven record of success, knowledge, skill, and patience in the classroom. You can approach these individuals to see if they would be interested in mentoring a colleague. Match teacher mentors with new teachers to create a system of support.
This type of mentoring program gives teachers the power to help one another and creates a foundation for community among your staff. The mentee receives hands-on help and attention while the mentor enhances coaching and feedback skills.
Give Teachers a Voice You Value
As we mentioned above, the number one reason teachers quit is for lack of respect. What does this mean? The respect we are referring to is lack of respect for what teachers have to say. This can be a lack of respect from other faculty members, administrators, and parents. Teachers feel validated when they have a voice and are heard.
Give teachers a platform to voice their opinions, thoughts, and ideas. You can do this by listening to their opinions and thoughts. Seek out the feedback of your teachers on a regular basis. This can be face-to-face, google forms, suggestion boxes, etc.. Don’t wait for teachers to come to you, personally invite individuals whose voice tends to be missing to join the conversation.
Be a Listener
Likewise, as a leader, you can be a listener for your teachers. You can do so by creating a safe space for the teacher to speak about their current hardships and successes in the classroom. Being a listener you can also understand specifically what your faculty is struggling with and make the proper arrangements to help your teachers be successful.
Being a listener will help you understand your teachers’ hardships and how you help them overcome each obstacle.
Celebrate Teacher Successes
Finally, one of the best parts of mentoring is seeing your mentee succeed. Celebrate each teacher’s wins. You can do so by simply giving acknowledgment during faculty meetings, post to the school website, or school social media posts.
Show teachers you care about their achievements by providing a gift. Something as small as a gift card or as big as watching their class for a bit while they enjoy a few extra hours to catch up on work or take a long lunch break.
Whatever it may be, be sure to reward teachers for their success.
Why Mentoring Teachers Matter
Mentoring is important because it addresses one of the key reasons why teachers leave the profession. However, it also builds community and relationships within your school. Support and acknowledgment is the driver for any organization, and making these small changes now can change the course of your school’s success for the future!