WASHINGTON, May 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Hundreds of thousands of teachers leave the profession every year. But recent events have dramatically altered the nature of teaching and prompted concerns that the nation's schools may face an exodus of educators in the months and years ahead.
In a new report, Retaining Great Teachers in a Time of Turmoil, the nonprofit Education Week investigates the stresses teachers are facing, reasons they may leave the profession, and how to keep educators engaged. The report features original reporting and results from a nationally representative survey of K-12 teachers and administrators conducted by the EdWeek Research Center.
As of March, more than half the nation's teachers (54%) said they were considering leaving the profession in the next two years, a 20 percent increase over pre-pandemic levels. The past year has made a challenging job even more difficult—84 percent of teachers reported that their work is more stressful than before the pandemic. Thirty-seven percent of teachers said they were "somewhat" or "very unsatisfied" with their jobs, a dissatisfaction rate two and a half times higher than administrators.
The disconnect between teachers' views and the perceptions of school and district leaders poses a major challenge. Teachers cite retirement and health benefits, love for their subjects, and seeing students succeed as leading reasons to stay in the profession. But administrators believe positive school culture and supportive administrators are among the top influences on teachers. Both groups place love for students as a top-three reason teachers stay.
"Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the report is that even while many teachers feel underappreciated and worn out, there are some concrete steps administrators can take to increase the odds they'll stay—but it all starts with listening," says Liana Loewus, the Education Week editor who oversaw the project.
The report highlights five ways principals can bridge the perception gap with staff: be visible, open communication channels, show teachers they're valued, understand teacher struggles, and reduce paperwork. It also examines strategies for retaining teachers: better pay, more job flexibility, supports for Black male teachers, attending to teachers' mental health needs, and providing mentors.
Asst. Director, EdWeek Research Center
SOURCE Education Week