Monday, March 17, 2008

Good Leaders (Teachers) Never Quit

Yesterday I had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Joseph Martin of the New Teacher University located in Florida. Among the topics he addressed were the following: the most common reasons teachers quit the profession; four "Fear Factors" administrators must be aware of when hiring teachers; three P's that administrators must understand about their teachers; and three things administrators must do to retain good teachers. According to Dr. Martin, the three most common reasons why teachers quit the profession are the following: lack of support (isolation); unrealistic expectations (too much to do & not enough time to do it); and, surprisingly, other teachers (experienced, negative teachers). Dr. Martin stated that student behavior was the fourth-most common reason why teachers quit the profession. In order to truly understand their teachers, administrators must understand teachers' "Fear Factors", which are (1) Time; (2) Approval; (3) Consistency; and (4) Quality. By "time", the implication is that teachers are afraid of wasting it. Their personal planning time needs to be respected & valued so that they believe they can complete their responsibilities. Second, some teachers get offended very easily. They need to perceive a "sense of approval" from their peers & supervisors. Third, some teachers don't want to change; they are afraid of doing things differently. These individuals need to be given very clear, simple directions when asked to do something new. Finally, some teachers are concerned with "quality", and need to be given time to do things correctly. The three P's that Dr. Martin refers to are: priorities; purpose; and pressures. Administrators need to understand teachers' individual priorities, preferably each person's top three. Second, administrators should try to understand each teacher's purpose for entering the profession; what drives the individual to teach? Third, an administrator should ascertain what pressures an individual teacher experiences, in order to know how best to help the teacher. In conclusion, all administrators (and leaders) should: serve with their hearts, not with their heads; the responsibilities should cause more heartaches than headaches. Next, administrators should focus on the purpose of their positions, not the payoff. Finally, administrators should be an example to their teachers, not an excuse.


maggie said...

Colby, this was fascinating! It reminds me how there are many do-able things we can do to retain and encourage good teachers...Your list seems incredibly practical!

Roxann said...

This was of interest to me with our work with SDI+. So many of our schools have high turnover rates, so this gives us another training opportunity for leadership in our schools we serve.

Anonymous said...

Interesting information and very relevant to what is happening in school districts this spring. How do you retain the good teachers you have and how do you recruit the new ones to replace the steadfast staffs that are retiring in droves?

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