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Teacher Retention and Power Dynamics

Center for Teaching Quality

CTQ blogger and middle school teacher Ariel Sacks dissects the often detrimental pattern of teachers who leave their school communities: "When teachers feel unsupported at a school or find their needs or concerns falling on deaf ears, or their expertise is disregarded or undermined, we often make the one power move we feel we have, which is to vote with our feet." Click to read more about a potential solution.
Photo Credit: thevirtualpresenter.com

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  • Center for Teaching Quality

    Thanks for your comments here! Agreed that teachers should be resourced with the supplies they need to create an engaging and effective learning environment.

    Liz, Thanks for your thoughts on how important the current leadership (principals, administrators, coaches, etc) are to teacher empowerment and teacher effectiveness. CTQ recently (and dramatically) changed our digital platform from a highly exclusionary one--teachers only--to a more open and inclusive membership. One of the reasons for this decisions was to include principals, parents, and other educators in the dynamic and empowering conversations we were having in our community (formerly Teacher Leaders Network or TLN). We too believe that principals need community, dialogue, additional development, and encouragement to be great leaders in their capacity.

  • Liz Dwyer

    Ariel makes such an excellent point when she says, "When teachers feel unsupported at a school or find their needs or concerns falling on deaf ears, or their expertise is disregarded or undermined, we often make the one power move we feel we have, which is to vote with our feet. I’ve seen teachers in these situations leave a school, move out of classroom teaching, or leave the profession altogether." And, her final question, "Could a transformed teaching profession--with increased hybrid roles for teacher leaders and professional compensation--solve the problem?" is a good one.

    I also can't help but think about the adage that people don't leave companies, they leave managers. So perhaps increasing the amount of principal training is also a key solution. That said, I believe a really high functioning school operates because the teachers are truly empowered to run things. So the hybrid role model could certainly help things.