Jessica Cameron

ASCD Staff

Alexandria, VA

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  • Posted 8 Years ago
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School climate and teacher retention: colleague support is key

A recent national survey by the Teacher's Network found that colleagues' support was the only school culture factor significantly associated with teachers plans to stay in the profession long-term. For teachers who planned to stay in the classroom for up to 5 years, opportunities for professional learning or high standards were the most important, yet collaboration was the dominant factor in retaining teacher leaders for 10 or 15 years. http://bit.ly/8B1Zfn 

Perhaps our need to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged isn't so different than students' needs.... 

What practices are helpful in creating a supportive and collaborative environment for educators?

 

 

5 Comments

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Gregg_Barnes

25 Apr 10, 08:02 PM

IMO, one of the most important factors in creating a climate conducive to teacher growth and retention is having administrators who were very good teachers for a considerable period of time. It seems the practice nowadays is to fast-track kids who have a minimum of 2--3 years teaching and make them principals with the goal of ascending to the six figure level (super, assistant or associate) as soon as possible. If all works out, they can build a resume in a couple years and move on leaving only the shallow tracks of their cross-trainers on the backs of teachers. Diane Ravitch wrote about this in her column for the Washington Post on April 2nd, "We need principals who are master teachers, not inexperienced teachers who took a course called, "How to Be a Leader". Gone is the day when a good, experienced teacher is selected for an administrative position, because they have a teacher mentality and the insanity of NCLB is antithetical to everything most of us veteran teachers know about teaching, learning, and our students.

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Jim_Smith

18 Mar 10, 06:05 PM

Hang in there.  My building went from winning achievement awards one year to not making AYP the next.  We are not a title I school so we chose to coninue to build our schools culture and implement best practises for middle schools.  A few weeks ago the budget cuts hit and they hit me bad.  My job was to implement data into the everyday lives of the PLCs which they could use during their common planning time.  I am gone as is the common planning time.  My hope is in the new plan that will take the place of NCLB.  Maybe getting rid of the proficency based AYP based in reading and math will help to revitalze the moral in both your school and mine.  In our case the problem is a lack of funds not NCLB.  We are losing 14 staff this year with another round next year.  We need to build dynamic institutions for the future not constrained by the narrow constrictions of NCLB but it is tough without convincing an increasingly hostile public that funding matters.

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David_Mabry

17 Mar 10, 01:07 PM

   I am in a school that is in the seond year of AYP and the stress is killing the school climate.  The energy level and determination is amazing but I fear the cost that it is accruing.  This is the first year that I actually find myself teaching to the state test because of the lack of prior knowledge and prep the students arrived with this year.  I am afraid it is something I will have to continue to do.  I have tried to start a PLC to dicuess research, school climate anf teacher leadership but everyone is so loaded with tutoring and engagment with students that there simply is no time. 

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Jim_Smith

05 Feb 10, 08:46 PM

A healthy building climate is dependent on collaboration.  However, collaboration happens only when it is a planned part of the school day.  Buildings which support collaboration with common planning time, mentoring programs, meaningful staff development and a climate which encourages risk taking and thinking out of the box can lead to an exciting work environment and professional practice.  The problem is that these activities are expensive and seen as secondary to the task at hand of providing the teaching to the classroom.  In addition NCLB has limited teachers ability to try new things because of the fear that test scores might drop.

 

My school is going through budget reductions and in order to insulate the classroom the cuts are happening in the above areas that are important to building an effective school climate.  There is little choice when the state and local community feel that the money should go to "teaching" and not to support a building "climate".  Scarce resources dictate tough choices.

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Simon_Quattlebaum

26 Jan 10, 06:10 PM

Great question. Indeed, research indicates that new teachers leave the profession within the first five years of their teaching assignments. Collaboration, the formation of PLCs, and collegial conversations will help to maintain new teacher effectiveness. As my dissertaion research moves me farther into professional development for new teachers, I have found that teachers (both new and experienced) should: * Seek shared leadership with principals with instructional leadership responsibilities * Professional Development training and activities should incorporate principles of adult learning * Provide teachers with multiple, varied exposures to new information * Encourage teachers to practice new skill until they could apply what they have learned. Further (as if it needed to be mentioned in this positive reply), the inspiration to change starts with high morale and motivation. According to Semadeni (2009), key challenges to to motivating teachers are: *a [seemingly] overwhelming social and academic responsibility * Teachers would rather work alone *Experienced teachers resistance to programs because they feel they simply "come and go" * The format of PD often ignores the principals of adult learning. Therefore, internalizing is difficult. Nonetheless, linking teacher effectiveness through collaboration is tantamount to effective student learning...
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