Teacher Retention Is a Very Real Challenge

Teacher retention is a very real challenge. The attrition rate has nearly doubled in the last 20 years and districts are finding it harder than ever to put a highly-qualified and effective teacher in every classroom. Districts are often scrounging to attract and retain high-quality teachers, particularly in specialized subject areas like math, science, and engineering.

For comparison sake, let’s look at the tech industry…

I work in tech, and in this industry, change happens quickly, so attrition can be high. Just last week, one of my colleagues announced he was leaving. His reason? “You know, it’s just time. I’ve been here for an eternity and it’s time to make an impact somewhere else.” That “eternity” he referenced? Five years. 

Five years really is an eternity in the tech industry. In “the old days” of 2013, Alexa was just a person you knew in college, people wore watches simply to tell time, and if you needed groceries you went to the grocery store and bought them. (Not to mention UberEats, which has dramatically expanded our options for dinner delivery!) 

In the tech industry, we worry about high attrition because it can have an impact on the business. High attrition in education is different (and possibly more alarming) because teacher quality is directly correlated to student achievement. Students who have better teachers learn more. So when teacher turnover is high and there are less highly qualified teachers to put in classroom, children suffer. And they don’t just suffer that year. Research says that the last effects of a poor teacher can be seen in years following. 

Teacher attrition is a very real problem and we need to find ways to retain education’s most critical resource: our teachers.

Check out our infographic on teacher attrition and ideas for improving teacher retention.

 

Keep learning,

Kelly Dean
K-12 Product Marketing, Instructure