Friday, March 14, 2014

16 Trends: # 16 the demand for teachers

This series of 16 trends, based on the work of Gary Marx, finishes with the trend that is closest to my heart - the increasing demand for teachers in the face of competition for those very "knowledge workers" in other industries.  The ability of schools to attract outstanding educators is crucial to the future.  Worldwide there is still a shortage of teachers and school administrators and one possible reason is that teaching salaries are not competitive with salaries of other professions that require the same level of academic preparation.  So at the same time that more teachers are needed, there is increasing competition for these people from other industries.

Attracting teachers is not enough - as well as recruitment there needs to be retention.  Of all my friends who started teaching with me in the 1980s, none of them is still teaching full time in schools.  How can schools convince teachers to stay?  Statistics point to about half of all new teachers leaving the profession within 5 years.  I've also noticed a large interest in teachers deciding to move internationally to search for work.

I'm reflecting on my own experience.  I've had a number of positions where I've stayed for 3-4 years at a school and one where I stayed for 16 years.  What made that one different?  First of all I think I loved the sense of school community and of being part of an institution that was moving forward.  Secondly I think that professional development was a factor in keeping me at the school.  I loved the growth mind-set.  I loved the way that the school brought in world experts and sent us to international conferences where we could learn more and become even better at what we did.  Above all, I think, I loved the sense that I was valued, that the school would invest in me, and that the school would allow me to follow my own interests and passions.

Photo Credit: Gunjan Karun via Compfight cc

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