Teacher retention in US schools is a significant bother for teachers, K-12 teachers, administrators, and students. The annual retention rate is the percentage of employees that decide to keep their current job. The teacher turnover rate is the percentage of teachers that decide to change their current place of work. Even though education is one of the most popular majors in the US, approximately 8% of teachers leave their profession each year, and another 8% switch their place of work (the University of Massachusetts Global, 2020). Teacher turnover negatively affects students due to the need to adapt to other school districts due to the need to search for a replacement (Scallon et al., 2021). Thus, it is crucial to increase the retention rates of K-12 teachers. This paper claims that effective leadership practices are the key to improving teacher retention rates, as they help to mitigate organizational conditions.
Improving teacher retention rates is beneficial for the majority of stakeholders. The primary concern of turnover is the associated financial burden on the districts. Teacher turnover has both explicit and implicit costs for districts. Schools spend a large amount of money on training and hiring to replace the teachers that decided to leave their current place of work (Sorensen & Ladd, 2020). At the same time, teacher turnover is associated with implicit costs, such as losses in productivity and changes in the quality and composition of the staff (Sorensen & Ladd, 2020). At the same time, since new teachers are usually less qualified, teacher turnover negatively affects students’ academic success rates. Thus, the two stakeholders that are most affected by teacher retention are students and districts.
However, it should also be noticed that teacher turnover negatively affects their colleague educators, even though the effect is indirect. Low teacher retention rates increase the financial pressure on districts, which negatively affects their ability to increase the wages of teachers (Sorensen & Ladd, 2020). According to Ryu and Jinnai (2021), monetary incentives may have a positive impact on teacher job satisfaction and motivation. Low motivation negatively affects the teachers’ will to share knowledge with their students, which increases the success rates of students. Moreover, high retention rates improve the ability of teachers to build strong professional and personal relationships with colleagues, which improves the ability of teachers to perform their duties and feel positive about their work experience (Morris, 2019). Thus, teacher retention affects their colleagues indirectly.
Improving leadership practices is a crucial strategy for improving teacher retention rates. Research demonstrates that organizational conditions are the key factor contributing to teacher turnover (Scallon et al., 2021). Administrative leadership can help to mitigate the negative effects of organizational conditions (Cianca & Frahm, 2021; Scallon et al., 2021). Cianca and Frahm (2021) conducted a qualitative study among rural teachers and administrators to estimate and understand what leadership practices positively affect teacher retention. The study found that the school should provide structural support, affirmation, and encouragement to improve the retention rates of teachers. Scallon et al. (2021) compared the leadership practices of two urban schools with high turnover and two urban schools with low turnover. The results demonstrated that there were three significant differences. First, school administrators acknowledge teachers as knowledgeable contributors. Second, schools with high retention rates are led based on a strong vision. Finally, the workplace culture in schools with high retention rates is focused on student learning.
In conclusion, teacher turnover is a significant problem for districts, students, and educators. Effective leadership practices can help to reduce teacher turnover. School authorities should establish purposeful plans for connecting with inexperienced educators to help them adjust. Additionally, leaders should build a strong workplace culture that values all the teachers as contributors to the common cause and encourages the collective support of colleagues. Finally, leaders should make student learning the center of workplace culture.
Cianca, M., & Frahm, M. (2021). Will they stay, or will they go? Leadership behaviors that increase teacher retention in rural schools. The Rural Educator, 42(3), 1-13.
Morris, E. C. (2019). Teacher morale and teacher retention in a rural school: A qualitative case study (Doctoral dissertation, Oklahoma State University).
Ryu, S., & Jinnai, Y. (2021). Effects of monetary incentives on teacher turnover: A longitudinal analysis. Public Personnel Management, 50(2), 205-231.
Scallon, A. M., Bristol, T. J., & Esboldt, J. (2021). Teachers’ Perceptions of Principal Leadership Practices That Influence Teacher Turnover. Journal of Research on Leadership Education, 19427751211034214.
Sorensen, L. C., & Ladd, H. F. (2020). The hidden costs of teacher turnover. AERA Open, 6(1), 2332858420905812. Web.
University of Massachusetts Global. (2020). Teacher turnover: What you need to know and how you can curb the trend.