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January 29, 2024

Top Teacher Retention Strategies from Our Former Educators

Education is more than just books and lessons—it’s about creating an environment where teachers can thrive. But with so many educators leaving the profession, the question we hear again and again is: What does it take to make a teacher stay?

We turned to our team of former educators and educational leaders to share the best teacher retention strategies that they’ve seen or implemented in their former schools. From the importance of new teacher mentorship to support from the administration, they had plenty of tried and true strategies for making sure your teachers want to stay.

“Good pay and treat them well, but mostly, treat them well!”
— Laura Estes, former School Administrator and Assistant Principal

“I think it’s important to honor a teacher’s time. So often teachers are working outside of their work hours—at night and on weekends. Time should be allotted for all teacher responsibilities during the workday.”
— Tavia Cathey, former teacher

“Support is KEY. Making sure teachers have what they need to do their jobs well (supplies, facilities, training) and supporting them when they take on a special project, such as planning a field trip, or applying for a grant. Feeling alone in those areas leads to intense burnout very quickly.”
— Erica Sheets, former teacher

“When considering new teachers, I would say mentorship. Having a teaching mentor to ask questions, vent, seek guidance, and learn strategies from is very beneficial. I was both a mentor and mentee at times, and I believe that contributed to my success in the classroom.”
— Kelvin Bonneau, former teacher

“In one of my previous schools, admin offered to cover two class periods for you for the year. You could choose to use it all at once or split it up. That was nice and I think it gave the admin a reminder of what the classroom is!”
— Jennifer Hees, former teacher

“Support them, ensure someone is walking alongside them during challenging and/or new things.”
— Keely Keller, former SPED Coordinator and SPED Teacher

“Mentorship is huge if it’s an actual structure, rather than “here’s your mentor!” and then you don’t hear from them all year. There needs to be regular engagement for it to work. Creating a sharing culture for curriculum and best practices. Ensuring new teachers have a self-care practice.”
—Betsy Butler, former teacher

“Helping teachers, especially new teachers, see the impact they are making with their students on a daily and long-term basis. Once they believe they are making a difference there is nothing they won’t do to grow and engage their learners. Belief in their abilities helps them to persevere through the difficult first few years.”
— Cheri Dedmon, former teacher and academic coach

Looking for even more retention strategies to use in your school? Check out these additional resources from the K12 Hub:

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