In order to increase the retention of teachers, innovation and flexibility must be a standard within school districts. There has to be a balance between not only how we attract teachers but what is done to empower, support and utilize the gifts teachers bring.
Flexibility and innovation help teachers find success within the classroom and ultimately bring a sense of gratification to the work. No one wants to work in a field, on a job or in a career that they feel is fruitless.
In speaking with school leaders, some of the challenges to retaining teachers include testing tied to student outcomes, flexibility and compensation. These things effect the quality of teachers schools have and most importantly the ability for schools to maintain a healthy balance between veteran and new teachers.
Teaching outside of the box helps teachers move beyond the strategies of teaching to the test and driving data for data’s sake. When teachers are allowed autonomy to create, deliver and implement innovative lessons to drive academic rigor, then true change in student performance takes place.
However, this requires support from leadership, adequate and equitable resources from the school/district and effective partnerships with parents, communities and businesses to support such instruction.
Regardless of the school setting, traditional public, public charter, private, virtual or night school, the millennial teacher brings in a new wave of innovation to the table. However, in order to be effective, I believe that teachers of the millennial age have to successfully merge the gap between old school best practices with new innovative models of helping all student achieve success.
As a millennial teacher, I used traditional best practices in innovative ways to turn around student performance in a upward direction. I would not only use the Promethean board, laptops, cell phone and social media but also chart paper, the dry erase board and hands on activities.
I found success as a teacher producing academic data because my drive wasn’t on numbers, it was on helping my students find their voice. They respected me as a teacher because they knew that I was concerned about their success and the well-being of not only them, but their families and communities, too. Building quality and genuine relationships with students allows teaching to become academically impressionable, changing the way students engage in pathways towards success.
If you want to keep quality teachers in the classroom, try innovation, use flexibility and empower teachers to be great so that students can be greater!
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.